Wintermute claims Near backed out of $11M stablecoin redemption deal

The Near Foundation and Aurora reportedly reneged on an offer to convert $11 million worth of USN (USN) stablecoins, according to Wintermute founder and CEO Evgeny Gaevoy.

In a Nov. 7 X (Twitter) post, Gaevoy claimed Near refused to honor a commitment to facilitate the sale of $11.2 million worth of the stablecoin USN for the FTX estate.

Gaevoy said Wintermute had been working with FTX to liquidate its assets for creditors, which included the sale of $11.2 million worth of USN.

Gaevoy claimed Wintermute executed the transaction — which provided $11 million to FTX creditors — based on an alleged agreement with the Near Foundation that it would be able to redeem USN to Tether (USDT) on a one-to-one basis.

When Wintermute submitted its redemption request, Near allegedly “refused to honor their commitments.” Gaevoy claimed that, after two and a half months, Wintermute still hadn’t received any USDT.

Gaevoy claimed Wintermute had received a final offer of 20% of the $11 million. Gaevoy said Wintermute would pursue “all legal avenues” against Near and Aurora, the organizations responsible for allowing the transfer of assets from the Ethereum network to the Near protocol.

In a Nov. 9 statement, Aurora pushed back on Wintermute’s claims, describing them as “unfounded.”

Aurora claimed that Wintermute attempted to take advantage of a fund that had been set up to protect the collateralization of the USN stablecoin. 

USN was first launched as an algorithmic stablecoin on April 25, 2022, by Decentral Bank, which called itself an independently operated community-run project with no direct financial assistance from the Near Foundation.

However, last October, the Near Foundation opened a $40-million fund dubbed the USN Protection Programme (USNPP)) to support USN-to-USDT conversions after USN became undercollateralized.

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Aurora said that in August 2023 — nearly a year after the USNPP was introduced — Wintermute acquired 11.2 million USN from the Alameda estate and requested to redeem them for USDT.

“[Wintermute’s] redemption request was inconsistent with the intended purpose of the USNPP, and the terms under which the programme was made available by [Aurora Borealis Limited],” wrote Aurora. 

“Contrary to that purpose, WM tried to exploit the programme to profit from the purchase of distressed assets from the Alameda estate. Due to this and other legitimate reasons, their claim was rejected. Rather than accept this outcome, they have decided to cast ABL and NF in a negative light,” wrote the Aurora team.

Gaevoy said his Nov. 7 post towas the “last and public attempt” to ask the Near Foundation to complete the redemption.

“However if [Near Foundation] continues to be unreasonable about this situation, we are fully committed to switching into a full-time adversarial mode.”

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Update (Nov. 8, 10:44 pm UTC): This article has been updated to include Aurora’s response to Wintermute