In 2021, Ardana Labs claimed it would provide an innovative stablecoin platform for the Cardano network. The new project, called “Ardana,” would allow investors to lock up crypto collateral and mint fiat-pegged stablecoins, including a U.S. dollar-based token called dUSD. It raised $10 million from investors that year, but it suddenly closed up shop in November 2022, citing “funding and project timeline uncertainty.”
Some investors blamed the loss on the “crypto winter” of 2022, during which many legitimate projects went bust from lack of funding in the extended bear market. However, new evidence from Web3 risk-management platform Xerberus suggests there may be more to the Ardana story than just fundraising issues.
According to Xerberus, Ardana executives likely transferred 80% of the project’s funds to a personal wallet after first attempting to obscure the transactions by sending some through centralized exchanges. The transfers were allegedly conducted by CEO Ryan Motovu or some other C-level team member. Once the funds were in this wallet, the executives made a series of bad crypto investments, Xerberus alleges. These investments resulted in a loss of approximately $4 million, shortening the runway for the project and ultimately leading to its collapse.
2) The capital was deposited in stablecoins. Ardana used this capital to invest in highly risky Ethereum-based tokens. As in the advent of the bear market prices collapsed Ardana lost at least 4 million USD just on their DEX trades. pic.twitter.com/PIj5o55Flr
— Xerberus (@Xerberus_io) September 6, 2023
Ardana’s rise and fall
Ardana was first announced in the summer of 2021, and by October 2021, it had raised $10 million from venture capital firms CFund, Three Arrows Capital (3AC) and Ascensive Assets. Thanks to its successful fundraise and the prominence of its backers, some investors came to believe that Ardana’s upcoming token, DANA, would deliver outsized market gains.
The following month, Ardana announced that it was also partnering with Near Protocol to create an asset bridge between Cardano and Near.
However, no Ardana stablecoin…