Sam Trabucco has announced he will resign as co-CEO of blockchain quant-trading firm Alameda Research. His decision leaves Caroline Ellison as the sole leader of the firm investor Sam Bankman-Fried founded in 2017, before starting FTX.
Trabucco and Ellison had been sharing the CEO role since Bankman-Fried handed it over to them in August 2021. Trabucco had worked as a trader at Alameda since 2019 and had been a friend of Bankman-Fried since their days at MIT. Ellison previously worked with Bankman-Fried at the non-blockchain research trading firm Jane Street.
In a lengthy Twitter thread titled “On happiness,” Trabucco wrote that he plans to prioritize his family and personal life. While he would be removing himself from Alameda’s day-to-day operations, he would stay with the firm in an advisory role.
— Sam Trabucco (@AlamedaTrabucco) August 24, 2022
While “resigning to spend more time with the family” is something of a trope in the corporate world, presenting more mysterious reasons for a departure, Trabucco’s thread suggests he was indeed tired of his leadership role in the industry and needed a break—he noted he had “significantly reduced” his role at Alameda over the past few months, and that “spending a normal amount of time at work is tricky.”
“Lately I’ve been really happy, spending a lot of time traveling, visiting friends and family, working on “myself” and whatnot. Also I bought a boat, that’s been cool. I needed to relax, and I’m really, really happy,” he added.
In a slightly backhanded compliment following Trabucco’s announcement, Ellison also noted that he hadn’t been around much in recent times. Responses to both co-CEOs’ posts indicated Alameda’s investor base preferred Trabucco’s social media commentary to his company leadership.
It's been an incredibly formative experience working with @AlamedaTrabucco. I've missed having him around in recent months, but I'm proud of all the other Alameda employees who have stepped up and more excited than ever about our future. I hope he has a great time on his boat! https://t.co/HqA2gz0FvL
— Caroline (@carolinecapital) August 24, 2022
Alameda’s prominent role in blockchain and the current bear market
Alameda Research specializes in trading strategies within the blockchain and digital asset sphere, working with “all major coins and altcoins, as well as their derivatives” and “the ability to trade on all major exchanges and markets.”
It also works as a liquidity provider and market maker for digital assets across multiple exchanges and provides OTC quotes/trades for exchange-listed coins.
Given Alameda’s influential position in the industry and the firm’s association with Bankman-Fried and FTX, online traders frequently analyze its strategies to gauge market trends. This has led to rumors of market manipulation and deliberate shorting to drop values, allegedly so FTX can acquire new assets and companies at rock-bottom prices.
Alameda also assisted in funding Anchorage Digital, joining Goldman Sachs, Andreessen Horowitz, and others to raise US$350 million in a Series D deal in December 2021. Anchorage is known as a “crypto bank” and the first digital asset-focused company to receive an official banking charter from the Office of the Comptroller (OCC) in January 2021.
It also gave a US$500 million line of credit to the troubled Voyager Digital as that company stared down the barrel of bankruptcy following its own loan to Three Arrows Capital (3AC) turned bad. Alameda’s buyout plan for Voyager was later rejected.
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