Meet FatManTerra: The Twitter user helping bring Terra’s Do Kwon to justice

Minerva Biven

The crypto environment was despatched reeling in May perhaps when the Terra stablecoin and sister coin Luna collapsed to close to zero, wiping out $50 billion in value and spreading contagion by way of the market. Traders had been still left indignant and hunting to blame something—or someone—but the forces guiding the crash ended up challenging to discern.

In an sector missing significant regulation and corporate transparency, these mysteries generally go unsolved. In the scenario of Terra, nevertheless, an nameless sleuth who calls himself FatManTerra took to Twitter and helped expose what transpired—including dodgy actions by the token’s founder, Do Kwon, who’s at the moment the topic of an Interpol warrant and a worldwide manhunt. 

FatManTerra is the just hottest in a collection of anonymous Twitter watchdogs—others include ZachXBT, BitFinexed, and Cobie (who has due to the fact uncovered his identity)—who are serving to to expose unsavory conduct and provide accountability to the business. Fortune spoke to FatManTerra about when this started off, who he is, and how he does it.

Who is FatManTerra?

Fortune reached out to the anonymous sleuth via Twitter direct message, inviting him to explain his investigation into Terra. Immediately after a handful of messages back again and forth, he agreed to communicate by Zoom offered his camera could remain off.

In the job interview, FatManTerra described himself as an “average center-class guy” involving 20 and 35 many years aged who life in the U.K. and who’s labored in the crypto marketplace as a project manager for some time. He claimed his present employer is knowledgeable of the account and has even authorized him to perform fewer hrs so he can dedicate far more time to it.

He discussed he experienced invested greatly in the Terra ecosystem, and shed 30% to 40% of his everyday living personal savings in the collapse. Considering that the creation of the account, the only payment he’s obtained is a foodstuff supply voucher worth 60 lbs ., which he instantly blew on a pineapple pizza and some sushi.

“Someone needed to send me funds, which I really do not ordinarily settle for, but they insisted so I told them they could send out me a Deliveroo present card…because I enjoy food stuff,” FatManTerra spelled out.

This adore of food items is largely what encouraged his Twitter cope with.

“It was intended to be a throwaway account, so I built it have a silly identify that my close friends can laugh at. ‘FatMan’ mainly because I’m a excess fat guy, suitable?” he told Fortune. “Some persons discover it surprising that I’m essentially 150 kilograms,” or about 330 lbs.

Origin story

FatManTerra to start with made use of the pseudonym on the Terra forum, Agora, to suggest a way of bettering the Terra blockchain. The proposal begun to gain traction so he established a Twitter account with the exact name.

For a interval of time, he’d basically tweet his opinions on Terra, mostly criticizing Kwon. Reduced-level whistleblowers begun to strategy him with tales as he acquired a little Twitter pursuing, but he saved these ideas to himself—until an employee from trading organization Jump Crypto approached FatManTerra with an explosive allegation.

This man or woman claimed that Bounce bailed out Terra in May possibly 2021 in get to prop up Terra’s slowly and gradually failing business model, which relied on money engineering gimmicks somewhat than real reserves to again its stablecoin. FatManTerra tweeted the allegations and commented that this was “likely to be the biggest crypto fraud of all time.”

The thread blew up, and FatManTerra’s follower rely jumped from 14,000 to 56,000 in a week. It also served as a beacon to the globe of crypto that he could be dependable to expose Terra’s dirty secrets.

Other suggestions poured in, making it possible for FatManTerra to expose other deceptions fundamental Terra, such as fraudulent Chai marketplace volume and Kwon quietly cashing out $3.9 billion truly worth of the stablecoin ahead of it collapsed entirely.

‘One dude in his room’

As a end result of the account blowing up, FatManTerra begun getting up to 5 immediate messages a day from persons proclaiming to be whistleblowers. These folks wished to stay anonymous and perhaps saw a section of them selves in this faceless Twitter account.

“My concept [of why people reached out] is that they know I’m just one particular person who is not backed by any pressure, nor am I associated with any information web pages,” FatManTerra explained to Fortune. “I really don’t have any editor to communicate to, I’m not funded by some exchange, I’m virtually just a person dude in his room.”

This absence of a formal journalistic structure has enabled FatManTerra, but may well be also a result in for problem. Most journalists and publications have a significant normal for verification when whistleblowers approach them because of the danger of authorized motion and reputational hurt. This is much less of an problem for anonymous Twitter accounts.

“In the early days, I just rolled with it. If a dude messaged me, I’d look at their LinkedIn to make guaranteed he’s legit. The tales were really thorough, exact, and matched up with what I presently knew,” FatManTerra explained. “But as time went on, I had to build a vetting approach. Now I require to see that you are a doxxed, verified worker. And, if you explain to me something outrageous, I have to individually feel it to be correct and have it cross-referenced by two or 3 unique resources.”

As the weeks handed and he heard from more whistleblowers, FatManTerra started out to really feel that jogging the Twitter account was a moral obligation—it was no lengthier about just his individual losses.

“In crypto, we preach about transparency, but a lot of of these corporations are truly rather opaque. It is crucial that folks from these organizations arrive forward to expose any wrongdoings,” he mentioned. “A large amount of ex-workers are worried for their lives when it will come to going general public with their data. They are pretty concerned for the reason that they see Do Kwon as a authentic psychopath.”

At the peak of FatManTerra’s Twitter attractiveness, he suggests paranoia started to established in and he did not leave his property for 3 to 4 weeks, fearing he could be qualified for reprisal. He has due to the fact made the decision these fears ended up overblown, but he nevertheless doesn’t want to run the account forever.

“Once Do Kwon is brought to justice and there is some form of gratifying resolution to all of this, I’m definitely heading to be publishing much much less and emphasis on real-lifetime things,” FatManTerra mentioned. “I have to have to return to the serious globe.”

“Once Do Kwon is brought to justice and there is some form of satisfying resolution to all of this, I’m undoubtedly heading to be posting significantly considerably less and aim on genuine-lifetime things,” FatManTerra explained. “I have to have to return to the true globe.”

Several lawsuits are in the will work from Kwon—there’s even an arrest warrant for him in South Korea—and FatManTerra is actively playing a part in some of these lawsuits in the U.S. and in Singapore.

“I’m trying to assist out the proof side as a great deal as doable,” FatManTerra instructed Fortune. “I will be a plaintiff on a pair of the lawsuits, which will require my real name—but I’ll be blending in with the group, fairly significantly.”

Kwon, in a mid-September Twitter thread, denied that he was “‘on the run’ or anything at all comparable,” incorporating that “any authorities agency that has demonstrated fascination to communicate, we are in full cooperation and we really do not have nearly anything to cover.”

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