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The Questionable Tactics Behind Solana’s Bull Run

Solana's bull run

Coindesk has revealed that Ian Macalinao, chief architect of Saber, created 11 independent personas and a vast web of interlocking DeFi protocols that contributed to Solana’s bull run.

Revealed to Coindesk in Macalinao’s unpublished blog, he confessed that he devised a scheme to maximise Solana’s Total Locked Value (TLV). He built protocols that stacked on top of one another, prompting the system to count every token several times. This happened three days after Cashio lost $52 million in a hack.

Macalinao apologised for creating a pseudonym and for causing the catastrophic losses as he “pushed very hard for people to stake more into Cashio” before the $52 million exploit.

Ian Macalinao’s brother Dylan lent credibility to the different personas on social media, by praising their launches, integrations, tweets and even circulating Ian’s self-referential memes. The plan wasn’t fool-proof, as two people who have worked with Ship Capital recalled that one persona’s Telegram account would come online after another logged off.

Saber was a stablecoin exchange built on top of Solana, while Sunny was a decentralised finance (DeFi) yield aggregator app built on top of Saber which saw billions of dollars in crypto flooding in during Solana’s bull run last year.

At its peak, Saber and Sunny comprised $7.5 billion of Solana’s $10.5 billion TVL before plummeting by 99%.

Ian Macalinao was found to be responsible for the Saber protocol, the Protagonist VC firm and incubator, and Ubeswap under his real name.

He pulled the strings of Sunny Aggregator as Surya Khosla, Cashio as 0xGhostchain, Goki as Goki Rajesh, Quarry as Larry Jarry, TribecaDAO as Swaglioni, Crate as kiwipepper, aSOL as 0xAurelion, Arrow as oliver_code, Traction.Market as 0xIsaacNewton, Sencha as jjmatcha, and VenkoApp as ayyakovenko.

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