Disclaimer: This article presents an account of events that occurred in 2020 and were reportedly resolved amicably between the involved parties, as per RealT’s statement. The facts mentioned in this article are based on on-chain data and information obtained from RealT, which does not fall under the purview of their non-disclosure agreement (NDA). To verify the transactions, you can click on the provided etherscan links for easy verification.
Unveiling the Money Heist: Investigating the alleged transfer of Uniswap airdrop by David Hoffman a former RealT employee turned Bankless Co-founder. Dive into the intriguing details surrounding a suspected misappropriation of funds, raising questions about transparency and integrity within the crypto industry.
How did Bankless go from a little-known podcast to a major player in the crypto world? It seems like they had some kind of secret sauce that no one else had figured out.
Fast forward to the present day, and Bankless has transformed into a formidable media presence, producing content at an impressive pace. Surprisingly, despite their rapid ascent, no journalist has undertaken an in-depth investigation into the factors behind their remarkable rise. This absence of scrutiny raises questions.
It’s important to clarify that I am not insinuating any wrongdoing on Bankless’ part. However, it is undeniably intriguing how they managed to establish themselves as a media powerhouse seemingly overnight, particularly considering the reputation of the crypto world as being as shady as the traditional financial system.
And then came the DeFi Summer of 2020. It was a wild and crazy time, a new economic and financial system emerging that was just as shady and greedy as the traditional one. But Bankless was right there, riding the wave and carving out their own niche in the crypto world.
As I dug deeper into Bankless, I couldn’t help but wonder: was there more to their success than met the eye? Was there something they weren’t telling us?
My investigation led me down a rabbit hole rife with peculiarities and dubious transactions. Each revelation seemed to propel me further into the labyrinthine enigma surrounding Bankless. However, just as I believed I had stumbled upon the truth, I found myself at an impasse. There was no definitive evidence or smoking gun to substantiate any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, an undercurrent of unease persisted. Something did not quite align.
And now, Bankless has raised $35 million for the establishment of their Venture arm.
The dark shades of crypto
As documented in an article published by The Block itself, their former CEO resigned following the revelation of undisclosed loans totaling $27 million USD, courtesy of Alameda Research, amidst the FTX controversy. Is The Block story related to Bankless in any way? Absolutely not. But if I were an investor giving someone $35 million, I would probably think twice.
So what are we talking about? If you don’t know Bankless, it’s a media DAO managed by Ryan Sean Adams and David Hoffman. Two important figures of the crypto media industry.
In 2019, David Hoffman assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) at RealT, a modest enterprise specializing in fractionalized real estate assets. As the DeFi Summer gained momentum, RealT experienced substantial growth, propelling them to the forefront of the crypto industry as a leading platform for tokenized real estate offerings.
If you are not familiar with the concept of tokenize real estate, it’s pretty basic. RealT create a company, buy a house or a building, wrap it up inside the company and split the company in (security) tokens. It is probably one of the easiest way to invest in real estate with basic knowledge of both crypto and properties. You can either buy house tokens with cash or crypto and receive your weekly rent directly in your Ledger. That’s pretty neat.
Prior to joining Bankless, David Hoffman held a pivotal role at RealT, where he oversaw all aspects related to Decentralized Finance (DeFi). According to my conversation with one of RealT’s founders, he was regarded as “charming with a strong understanding of DeFi”. RealT sought to expand its service offerings, and unlike the traditional financial system, pooling Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) with USD was not feasible. However, they devised a solution by enabling users to pool their REALT tokens with WETH or USDC, thus creating liquidity pools on Uniswap.
For each new house tokenized, a pool was created on Uniswap, allowing token holders to buy and sell their tokens on the secondary market. It was an easy way to create more value to the platform and help increase liquidity. Now, all of these pools are deprecated because RealT switched from Ethereum to Gnosis to avoid costly gas fees.
Yet, RealT still displays these old pools on its website:
- Patton St Detroit: https://etherscan.io/token/0xed42cedcadbfbcaa3e6f411b09567c2c0b5ad28f?a=0x9016aa99b98128ba990097ea3f3d60b5e40775e4
- Lesure Street Detroit: https://etherscan.io/token/0x395c47a421c254ae42253764a7f56e0ee0cddac5?a=0x1bdc18d53ca882b97196828e131548700ea81a88
- Audubon Road Detroit: https://etherscan.io/token/0x43688910273f199b8ae2ca018c13918fb3d37b58?a=0x7671f9c37bfcee829f54d4bdd2a226930c91df7b
- Marlowe Street Detroit: https://etherscan.io/token/0xe5f7ef61443fc36ae040650aa585b0395aef77c8?a=0x474f8f008f07cd42200bc6dabc1db2206827ee6e
- Fullerton Ave Detroit: https://etherscan.io/token/0x22c8ecf727c23422f47093b562ec53c139805301?a=0xc215ebfe68c15fcafcb848105ef5f5b1158313cb
- Appoline Street Detroit: https://etherscan.io/token/0x5807ca447851c98569c567963b25b1c83d41bebc?a=0x0620e472ea092adaffd70e928d706b4a53adf6c8
On September 2020, Uniswap the leading AMM decided to airdrop its governance token to all its early users. With this mechanism they started the craze about tokens airdrop amongst the crypto community. In a post blog from september 2020, Uniswap explain that basically everyone who interacted with their protocol is eligible for a share of its airdrop:
15% of UNI 150,000,000 UNI can immediately be claimed by historical liquidity providers, users, and SOCKS redeemers/holders based on a snapshot ending September 1, 2020, at 12:00 am UTC.
4.91664% pro-rata to all 49,192 historical LPs 49,166,400 UNI
~49 million UNI are claimable by historical liquidity providers. The formula accounts for LP liquidity on a per-second basis since the deployment of Uniswap v1, ensuring that rewards are weighted towards LPs that provided liquidity when total liquidity was low.
10.06136% split evenly across all 251,534 historical user addresses 100,613,600 UNI
400 UNI are claimable by each address that has ever called the Uniswap v1 or v2 contracts. This includes ~12,000 addresses that have only ever submitted failed transactions — love you guys.
0.022% to 220 SOCKS holders/redeemers 220,000 UNI
1000 UNI are claimable by each address that has either redeemed SOCKS tokens for physical socks or owned at least one SOCKS token at the snapshot date.https://blog.uniswap.org/uni
I always wondered if protocols and DAOs take their shares of big airdrops. The recent Arbitrum airdrop has proven that lots of DAOs got big money. According to Uniswap blog post RealT should have received a share of the UNI airdrop. To stick together all the pieces of the puzzle I needed to find out which address or addresses provided liquidity on Uniswap for all REALT tokens.
It appears to be the following address:
I have found that the wallet had received a total of 22,153 UNI, which represent at that time nearly $76’260. But then the UNI were moved to another address that I continued to track and appears to be:
Strangely this address was funded by banked.eth (let’s keep aside this ENS for a moment) with 1 ETH almost two weeks before the UNI aidrop was sent. Then the UNI continued to move, now to a multisig:
It could have been the end, but the UNI were deposited on Compound for cUNI.
The multisig finally transferred all the cUNI to this address:
It appears that the cUNI were converted to UNI and then used as collateral in Aave to borrow GUSD and DAI. But I lost track of the GUSD when they were transferred to a Gemini account.
Now, let’s go back to the banked.eth ENS. After a quick research it appears to be attached to members of Bankless, like rsa.eth also known as Ryan Sean Adams, Bankless co-founder. The banked.eth ENS also have a rsa subdomain: rsa.banked.eth.
As you can see on the dashboard above the address rsa.eth controls a Gnosis safe which appears to be Banked.eth
I reached out to RealT regarding the transfer of airdropped tokens from a liquidity-providing wallet on Uniswap to an external wallet associated with Banked.eth, purportedly under the control of Ryan Sean Adams, the Co-founder of Bankless. It is worth mentioning that according to David Hoffman’s LinkedIn profile, he departed from RealT around the same time he joined Bankless, which may indeed be viewed as a peculiar coincidence.
When contacted, RealT executives did not refute the occurrence of such an event, confirming that David Hoffmann, as an employee at the time, claimed the Uniswap airdrop before subsequently departing from the company. What is even stranger is the lack of security at the company at that time. Naivety or amateurism, but it appears that RealT wasn’t using any stronger security storage. Even if multisig wasn’t popular at that time, one person in the company was effectively managing the REALT LP on Uniswap.
The Uniswap airdrop was claimable from September 1st, 2020, and the transaction history shows that the UNI airdrop was claimed on September 17th by the address that provided liquidity:
As I delved deeper into the matter, I uncovered information related to a multisig wallet utilized for sending GUSD to a Gemini account. Notably, this multisig wallet also initiated two transfers, one involving $15,000 USDC and the other involving $35,000 DAI, to an address associated with remyj.eth, which may potentially correspond to Remy Jacobson, one of the co-founders of RealT alongside his brother Jean-Marc Jacobson. It is important to emphasize that this deduction is speculative and should be treated as such, as I was unable to obtain definitive confirmation regarding the recipient of these transfers.
These additional details contribute to the complex web of information surrounding RealT, Bankless, and the individuals involved, underscoring the need for further scrutiny and transparency regarding the events in question.
I’m still wondering about the true story between RealT and Bankless co-founders, I can’t help but wonder: what else is lurking in the shadows of the crypto industry? What other secrets are waiting to be uncovered? Maybe we’ll never know the full story here, but one thing is for sure: the crypto world is full of surprises.
Special thanks to @AmirOrmu for his precious help to find the right addresses in the meandering of the blockchain.
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