How a Polkadot trader may have crashed DOT futures


On March 5, Polkadot (DOT) skilled a flash crash at Binance perpetual futures which resulted within the contract buying and selling as low at $0.20. Whereas this might have been an sincere fat-finger buying and selling mistake, a variety of indicators level to a planned-attack.

Whereas no laborious proof will seemingly ever emerge, the open curiosity enhance simply 24 hours forward of the occasion signifies that an attacker might have generated a $8.3 million revenue by manipulating Binance’s matching engine.

DOT perpetual futures on Mar. 4, USD pricing. Supply: Binance

As proven above, through the 3-minute candle, $20.4 million price of DOT contracts traded. Though the swift draw back transfer was a 99.5% flash crash, it didn’t lead to cascading liquidations.

Futures contracts liquidations are calculated utilizing the value of spot exchanges. Thus, a flash-crash completely on futures costs wouldn’t impression most merchants. In line with Binance:

“The Worth Index is a bucket of costs from the foremost Spot Market Exchanges, weighted by their relative quantity.”

As per Binance’s help web site, Polkadot coin-margined futures index value consists of Kraken (DOT/USD), Binance (DOT/USD), Binance (DOT/BTC), OKEx (DOT/BTC) and Huobi’s (DOT/BTC) market.

It’s price noting that this particular contract is coin-margined as an alternative of the extra liquid Tether-settled one. Cointelegraph not too long ago analyzed these variations, stating that the Tether-based contract “does not want an energetic hedge to guard collateral (margin) publicity, thus it is a better option for retail merchants.”

Information uncovers the deliberate ‘assault’

For an attacker to arrange this commerce, step one can be constructing a leveraged lengthy place whereas concurrently creating quick publicity utilizing one other account.

To create a flash crash whereas risking the minimal quantity doable, ideally, this occasion ought to happen no more than a few days forward of the deliberate ‘assault’.

DOT/USD perpetual futures open curiosity. Supply: Binance

As depicted above, DOT/USD perpetual futures open curiosity grew from 1.92 million DOT to three.34 million some 30 hours forward of the flash crash, equal to a $47 million enhance.

To distinguish the assault from a daily leveraged-long, one ought to observe the long-to-short ratio. To maximise positive aspects from the flash crash, the attacker would have created a considerably greater quick leveraged quantity, thus impacting the long-to-short ratio.

DOT/USD perpetual futures long-to-short ratio. Supply: Binance

The information above exhibits that the common 4.25 ratio favoring longs was severely impacted through the open curiosity enhance. This might affirm the speculation of a coordinated assault.

How the commerce is executed

By holding a significantly bigger internet quick place when each accounts are mixed, the attacker would revenue from a flash crash. All this entity must provoke the occasion is to market promote the online lengthy place. This transfer would set off a considerable promote order, crashing the futures contract. In the meantime, the opposite account, beforehand internet quick, would rating huge.

762,000 DOT contracts traded through the 3-minute flash-crash candle at a $26.73 common value. Contemplating the change within the long-to-short ratio, the assault most probably created a $30 million lengthy place. In the meantime, the secondary account held a $10 million internet quick publicity.

Though removed from the 99.5% value crash, this 19% drop from $33 seemingly generated a $9.5 million acquire for the account holding the $10 million quick publicity if 5x leverage was in play. Then again, the collateral misplaced for the $30 million lengthy place quantities to $1.2 million is 25x leverage was deployed.

You will need to emphasize that holders of Binance DOT futures contracts had been unlikely affected by the flash crash. Subsequently, the attackers’ internet lengthy account ought to be holding a destructive stability, which the Binance insurance coverage fund will seemingly cowl.

The above calculations are mere speculations primarily based on exchange-provided information. As beforehand talked about, it’s unlikely that tough proof of this assault will ever floor.

The views and opinions expressed listed below are solely these of the author and don’t essentially replicate the views of Cointelegraph. Each funding and buying and selling transfer entails threat. You must conduct your personal analysis when making a call.