Jump Trading spins off Wormhole amid strategic cutbacks, legal challenges
Jump Trading, a prominent player in the cryptocurrency trade, has separated its cross-chain protocol Wormhole into an independent entity, Bloomberg News reported Nov. 17, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The spin-off has resulted in the departure of key Jump Trading executives, including Wormhole CEO Saeed Badreg and COO Anthony Ramirez, who will continue to lead Wormhole separately.
Jump Trading did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
The development follows a significant exploit in 2022 when Wormhole fell victim to hackers who stole approximately $320 million, equivalent to 120,000 ETH — one of the largest decentralized finance (DeFi) hacks to date.
Jump Trading’s involvement with Wormhole began in 2021 when the company acquired Certus One, thus leading to the acquisition of the Wormhole Bridge. This relationship predates the significant hacking event that took place in 2022.
Wormhole’s leadership took up executive roles in Jump Trading as part of the strategic partnership. However, the protocol faced a devastating hack in 2022, with the hackers stealing roughly $320 million at the time.
Jump Crypto, the cryptocurrency arm of Jump Trading, swiftly intervened to replace the stolen funds and began investigating the hack in an effort to recover some of the stolen money. It is unclear whether the efforts bore fruit.
Sources did not disclose whether the incident played a part in Jump Trading’s decision to cut ties with Wormhole. However, the decision aligns with the company’s recent strategic moves to minimize its crypto exposure due to the unclear regulatory landscape in the U.S.
Jump Crypto has seen a significant 50% reduction in staffing since a peak of 150 in 2022, according to the report.
Jump Crypto’s Terra links
Jump Crypto extends beyond its efforts in mitigating the aftermath of the Wormhole hack. The cryptocurrency arm has faced scrutiny for alleged backdoor deals, with Jump Crypto President Kanav Kariya invoking the Fifth Amendment during a deposition by the SEC.
This deposition was part of the watchdog’s lawsuit against Terraform Labs and its former CEO, Do Kwon. Portions of the unsealed deposition revealed that Kariya exercised his right against self-incrimination multiple times in the public segments. F
Adding another layer to the complexity, the SEC’s original complaint cited an unnamed U.S. trading firm manipulating the price of UST, with the class-action suit speculating that Jump Trading is the firm in question.
These legal challenges, coupled with the departure of Wormhole executives and the separation of Wormhole, underscore the complex landscape that Jump Trading has to navigate within the evolving crypto market. The future implications of these developments remain to be seen.