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Do Kwon Net Worth, Crypto and NFT Investments

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The net worth of Do Kwon is estimated to be around $135 million in 2023. This estimation is based on the worth of the Bitcoins that he kept in the Luna Foundation Guard wallet. The former Stanford University graduate enjoyed an outstanding rise in the crypto space following the success of Terraform Labs and its league of projects which included Mirror, UST, and LUNA.

Do Kwon

In 2021, Kwon made a brief appearance in the league of self-made billionaires in the crypto and blockchain landscape. Then, his personality on Twitter was highly controversial due to his harsh views on other projects. In April 2022, he became so carried away by the early wins of his project to the extent that he named his daughter “Luna” after the native token of the Terra blockchain. 

Barely a month later, Kwon experienced his biggest nightmare after the Terra Luna project lost about 99.9% of its value. The crisis left investors in agony, thereby attracting interventions from authorities across the globe. Kwon failed and his empire collapsed under his watch. As of August 2023, the embattled Terra co-founder is serving a jail term in Montenegro for using fake passport. Upon the completion of his jail term, criminal charges await him in countries like South Korea, the U.S., and Singapore. 

Do Kwon’s Net Worth

Year Net Worth
2023 $135 million

Early Life

Kwon Do-Hyung was born on September 6, 1991, in Seoul, South Korea. He grew up in the country and attended Daewon Foreign Language High School in Seoul. Thereafter, he proceeded to Stanford University where he earned a B.S. in computer science in 2015. Upon his graduation, he worked briefly as a software engineer with Apple and Microsoft. 

Later, Kwon relocated to South Korea and founded a startup known as Anyfi in January 2016. Anyfi is a telecommunication firm that leverages mesh network technology. Despite receiving $1 million in investments at that time, the South Korean Ministry of SMEs and Startups stated that the organization failed to earn a good evaluation score.

In 2017, Kwon began to pick interest in cryptocurrency after realizing its potential. However, he noticed that the industry was struggling to enjoy widespread acceptance and real use value. This propelled him to come up with a white paper for a decentralized payment system. In the white paper, Kwon extensively explained how the project would enjoy stability due to its elastic money supply.

The ideology of the project caught the attention of Daniel Shin. Shin had already made a name for himself in the Korean tech landscape before coming across the project. He has a robust experience in online payment systems. His interest in Kwon’s white paper was driven by its emphasis on decentralization. 

Before collaborating with Kwon, Shin co-founded Fast Track Asia, a startup incubator. Also, he co-founded and managed TMON (Ticket Monster), a South Korean e-commerce platform.

TerraForm Labs

The partnership between Do Kwon and Daniel Shin birthed the creation of Terraform Labs in January 2018. Consequently, the company adopted the mantra of enhancing the adoption of virtual assets and blockchain innovations. In a bid to attain this landmark height, the firm focused on offering services that are stable and usable.

Terraform Labs launched its first project; Chai. The project is an e-commerce platform that connects local suppliers in South Korea with overseas shoppers. Chai relies on its blockchain infrastructure to accept fiat payments. The infrastructure allows it to pay suppliers in the South Korean Won. The project’s focus was to become a “major contender” to giant payment merchants like Alipay and Paypal. In 2018, Chai became an instant success,recording $32 million in investments. 

Despite being in his early twenties at that time, the success of Chai established Kwon as an admirable personality in the tech industry. He began to gain huge media attention and was eventually featured in the elite list of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in 2019.

Meanwhile, while the blockchain space was still filled with the euphoria of Chai, Terra Labs launched the Terra blockchain alongside its native token, LUNA. The blockchain was designed to be decentralized and open source. It hosts decentralized applications (dapps) and algorithmic stablecoins. Kwon created the blockchain through supports from prominent tech entrepreneurs, like Lee Tae-jin and JB Lee.

The launch of Terra attracted Changpeng Zhao’s crypto exchange, Binance because of its scalability and stability. Then, the exchange invested in the project. Likewise, it acknowledged the contribution and “earnest commitment” of Do Kwon and Daniel Shin to the advancement of the industry. In June 2020, Terra Labs launched the Chai Card for Korean users. 

Driven by the growing popularity of digital assets and blockchain, Terraforms Lab decided to expand the reach of its ecosystem. This agenda propelled Terraform to begin its stablecoin project. Around September 2020, the firm in collaboration with Bittrex Global launched UST which was also hosted by the Terra blockchain. The stablecoin maintained its $1 peg through an algorithm linked to the supply of LUNA.

Barely a year later, the firm also developed the Anchor protocol. The protocol offered high returns on users deposits and it allowed users to borrow against their crypto holdings. Kwon also established the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG) on January 19, 2022 to support UST and LUNA. The LFG had the ultimate goal of acquiring $10 billion worth of BTC to provide reserves for the two tokens.

With the support of notable investors and the LFG, UST enjoyed an incredible rise, outperforming established stablecoins like TerraUSD GUSD (Gemini) and PAX (Paxos). This noticeable progress reflected in the value of LUNA as the token hit an all-time high of $116 in April 2022. Findings show that LFG’s consistent purchase of BTC at that time contributed to the remarkable success. Around May 2022, reports indicated that the LFG acquired $1.5 billion worth of BTC. The project enjoyed unprecedented prosperity to the extent that it attracted $60 million worth of users’ funds. During this period, LUNA found a place among the top ten (10) cryptocurrencies with the largest market cap. 

However, Kwon founded other projects during his time at Terraform Labs. They include Mirror, Prism, and  Astroport. The Mirror protocol runs on the Terra blockchain. It is decentralized with the on-chain treasury and code changes governed by holders of the MIR token. Also, the project has no admin key which makes it completely decentralized and community-driven.

Without any doubt, the early success of the Terraform Labs project boosted the net worth of Do Kwon. 

The Collapse of Terra UST and LUNA

The genesis of the UST and LUNA crisis surfaced on May 7, 2022, less than a month after the native token recorded its all-time high. First, a bot that observes voluminous crypto transactions; Curve Whale Watching tweeted that 85 million UST was swapped for 84.5 million USDC. This development resulted in a 10% dip in the value LUNA, thereby forcing the UST to lose its peg the following day.

As the news of the implosion began to dominate the airspace, Kwon called for calm. Then, he assured users that he would control the situation.

Later, over $2 billion worth of UST were unstaked from the Anchor Protocol, with millions sold immediately. Within the first few hours after the algorithmic stablecoin lost its peg, holders were calm. This was because they believed it was normal for stablecoins to lose their pegs for a short period. Unfortunately, the reverse was the case with UST. The stablecoin failed to regain its peg after sixteen (16) hours and thus left its investors in shock. Then, it traded between $0.985 to $0.99. 

Amid this struggle, investors began to indulge in massive selloffs, thereby plunging the project into a full-blown crisis. During this period, Kwon and his team halted the Terra blockchain on two different occasions. Within a few days, $45 billion vanished from the $60 billion empire of UST and Terra.

As the crisis deepened, the total market cap of the crypto market plummeted from $1.84 trillion to $1.30 trillion. During this period, UST and LUNA traded at $0.20 and $0.03 respectively. The crisis triggered the dip of numerous crypto assets, including Bitcoin. Similarly, companies within its blasting radius were affected, with some going bankrupt.

Meanwhile, in a last-minute attempt to save the situation, the LFG sold some portion of its BTC reserve. Unfortunately, the effort could not save the asset from its downturn.

On May 19, 2023, Hashed, a well-known Terra-supporter venture fund based in Seoul, South Korea, reportedly lost 3.5 billion to the crisis. Later that month, Terra validators voted to approve Do Kwon’s plan to launch a new blockchain; Terra 2.0.

The new network had no stablecoin, unlike its predecessor. Eventually, Kwon launched Terra 2.0, with support from a few crypto exchanges. The project came alive to incentivize holders of the UST and LUNA tokens who lost their investment to the crisis. 

Lawsuit and Controversy

Prior to the collapse of Terra, reports surfaced that it sued the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The lawsuit emanated due to the subpoena issued by the regulator against the company at the Messari Mainnet conference. As revealed, the SEC demanded that Kwon provide testimony regarding the activities of his Mirror Protocol. Kwon’s belief has always been that the SEC should not regulate crypto.

Meanwhile, following the collapse of UST and LUNA, on May 17, 2022, members of the Korean parliament and government agencies insisted that the legislature must hold a hearing regarding Kwon and Terraform Labs. They lamented how the absence of a regulatory framework delayed investigations into the activities of the firm.

The following day, the National Tax Service of South Korea directed Kwon and Shin to pay $100 million in taxes for their December 2021 earnings. Then, the duo kicked against the directive and argued that their firms were not based in the country. Nonetheless, the agency insisted that the founders made management decisions while residing in South Korea, thereby positioning their respective companies and earnings under its jurisdiction.

Later, Kwon filed an application with the Registry Office to dissolve the South Korean organ of his company. Eventually, the application was approved.

Barely a few months after the demise of Terra, investors across various countries, including the United States and South Korea filed a class action lawsuit against Kwon and Terraform Labs. In addition, the South Korean government also leveled criminal charges against Do Kwon. 

In May 2022, Kwon’s spouse requested for emergency police protection after an intruder allegedly invaded their apartment. The fellow claimed that he lost about $2 million to the collapse of the project.

Meanwhile, in the United States, a class action, Patterson v. TerraForm Labs Pte Ltd. et al., was filed against Kwon. The complainant filed the class action lawsuit with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. In the lawsuit, Do Kwon and Terraform Labs were accused of marketing unregistered securities. Likewise, the investor argued that the CEO and his company deceived them about the project.

Also, Kwon is facing another similar legal battle in Singapore. The $56.9 million class action was filed at the Singapore High Court around September 2022. The same month, Interpol issued a red notice against Do Kwon. The notice gave a green light to law enforcement agencies across the globe to search and arrest the Terraform Labs founder.

Similarly, a court in South Korea also issued an arrest warrant for Kwon and five others. The court accused Kwon and his accomplice of violating capital market laws in the country. Then, prosecutors alleged that the CEO of Terraform Labs was hiding in Serbia. Despite the intensity of the reports, Do Kwon through his Twitter page argued that he was not on the run. Then, the Terraform Labs CEO even disclosed how he walks freely without fear.

Later, Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ revoked his traveling documents of Kwon. In an interview around October 2022, Kwon said he was not bothered about the invalidation of his passport by the South Korean government because he does not use it. Again, he was asked if he had another passport, and Kwon replied that he doesn’t feel comfortable discussing his travel plans.

https://twitter.com/seleno_s/status/1570759029118627840

In February 2023, the U.S. financial regulator charged Do Kwon and TerraForm Labs for “orchestrating a multi-billion dollar crypto asset securities fraud.” 

After various efforts to uncover the whereabouts of Kwon, he was eventually arrested at the Podgorica Airport in Montenegro, on March 23, 2023. He was apprehended on his way to Dubai with a fake Costa Rican traveling documents. Also, he was reportedly in possession of another fake Belgian travel document.

Upon his arrest, authorities in Montenegro, charged Kwon for forgery.On May 11, 2023, Kwon said he was not guilty of the forgery charges. However, he was convicted and sentenced to four months in prison by a Montenegrin court for using fake traveling documents. Amid the jail sentence, authorities in the U.S. and South Korea are making efforts to secure the extradition of Kwon

In June, pointers from his confiscated private computer indicated that he provided financial support for the election campaign of some top officials in the Government of Montenegro.

Meanwhile, barely a month after, reports indicated that South Korean prosecutors considered submitting the recent U.S. ruling on Ripple cryptocurrency to a Seoul court. Per these reports, the prosecutors want to prove that LUNA is financial security. As part of its bid to prosecute Do Kwon, the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office recently received a translated version of the ruling on the SEC vs Ripple lawsuit. 

Is Do Kwon Pro Crypto?

Prior to the collapse of his Terra project, Do Kwon was one of the most revered proponents of cryptocurrency. He learned about crypto around 2016 and eventually decided to venture into it. Just like other top guys in the industry, Kwon was quick to realize the opportunities enveloped in cryptocurrency, and its underlying tech, blockchain. His interest in these innovations propelled him to consider the creation of a payment network to expand their adoption and “real use” value. This idea birthed Terra whose eventual demise later made him an outcast in the industry. 

Don’t forget that the implosion was the major architect of the 2022 crypto winter. Then, its level of contagion cuts across notable firms in the industry, including 3AC, Hodlnaut, Celsius, and several others. Many of these firms faced severe bankruptcy issues and are yet to even recover. The crisis made it impossible for 3AC to repay its loan with Genesis Global, thereby leaving a hole in the balance sheet of the latter.

Earlier, Genesis lent 3AC from the $800 million worth of assets in its custody. The funds were deposited by Gemini Earn investors. Now, the inability of 3AC to return the loans due to its exposure to the Terra project plunged Genesis into bankruptcy. Today, the owners of Genesis and Gemini are locked in a battle that has left Earn investors stranded. 

Nevertheless, amid various investigations into the circumstances that led to the collapse of Terra, Kwon made several attempts to revamp the project and his reputation. Then, he reflected on the crash, insisting that there were too many expectations from the UST despite being an algorithmic stablecoin. Also, he claimed Terra was not a scam as perceived by many and stressed that “I was confident about the bets and statements I made on UST (TerraUSD) ‘s behalf.” 

Meanwhile, despite receiving 65% approval from the community before relaunching Terra, the project has continued to struggle. Investors have totally lost trust in Kwon and are afraid to get it wrong again. The collapse really did big damage to the reputation of a man who is considered “arrogant” by other founders.

Recall that prior to the fall of his project, Kwon was quite popular for his memetic slurs to stakeholders in the industry, particularly his critics. One of his critics at that time, Kevin Zhou foresaw the collapse of Terra even at the height of its ascent. Likewise, other notable experts and analysts in the industry described the project as an “unstable investment” and predicted its vulnerability to a “death spiral.” 

However, Kwon was always quick to respond to all those “outbursts” about his project. He was so confident about his activities to the extent that he referred to his critics as poor thinkers. Then, the Terra co-founder even described the crypto industry as a wild card, stressing that 95% of other digital assets would fail. It is indeed surprising that his perception of other projects eventually became his reality. 

In an interview with Laura Shin, Kwon was asked whether he regrets the image he portrayed prior to the collapse of his project. He said; “I got too carried away with interacting with other people on Crypto Twitter. So the industry lingo for this is called sh*t posting. In retrospect, I think I should have held myself to a more stringent standard.”

Kwon added that he was an introvert but was encouraged to change as Terra grew, with users clamoring for consistent communication. He also downplayed speculations that the project was a rug pull, insisting that the collapse was caused by weaknesses in its protocol design. However, he accepted full responsibility for the collapse and apologized to all affected investors.

“Whatever issues existed with Terra’s design, its weakness to respond to the cruelty of the markets, it’s my responsibility and my responsibility alone,” he said. 

Likewise, in another interview with Wall Street Journal, Kwon talked about how he has been devastated by the impact of the Terra collapse on recent events in the industry. 

The embattled co-founder said; “I’ve been devastated by recent events and hope that all the families who’ve been impacted are taking care of themselves and those that they love. I made confident bets and made confident statements on behalf of UST because I believed in its resilience and its value proposition,” adding that  “I’ve since lost these bets, but my actions 100% match my words. There is a difference between failing and running a fraud.”

However, Kwon has continued to attach political undertones to his ongoing probe in South Korea. His belief is that the allegations leveled against him by prosecutors in the country are politically motivated and not legitimate. He told Shin that the South Korea’s Financial Services Commission is going beyond its reach by investigating the collapse of Terra because cryptocurrencies are not classified as securities in the country. 

“We are a little bit disappointed in the way that prosecutors are attempting to create new regulation through criminal enforcement proceedings whereas that really should be within the job description of the legislature or at the very least the financial regulators,” Kwon said.

He also added that none “of the charges pertaining to the Capital Markets Act” are “legitimate,“ labeling them as “politically motivated.”

Meanwhile, he wants fellow developers to learn from his errors by building decentralized money that is transparent, robust, and resistant to failure. 

“I do really think that building decentralized money is one of the most important problems that crypto has to solve. Because with it, what are we even doing here? I think in terms of the recent regulatory clampdown on censoring transactions and arresting developers from Tornado Cash, it’s indicative of how we need to work towards that decentralized future.”

Crypto and NFT Holdings of Do Kwon

When Terra was at its peak, Do Kwon’s personal crypto portfolio was worth millions of dollars. Although he claimed to have lost almost all his net worth to the implosion, findings from ongoing probe into the incident have proven otherwise. Recently, Hansung University Blockchain Research Institute analyzed on-chain data that showed how the Terra co-founder moved over $46 million in digital assets to his private wallets and exchange accounts prior to the collapse of the project. This revelation indicates that Kwon must have anticipated the eventual demise of Terra.

According to on-chain data, the controversial Terra co-founder started moving the funds around December 2021. Then, he transferred UST, USDC, and WBTC from two Terra wallets to his personal wallets on the Ethereum network through Wormhole. It is worth establishing that WBTC is the Bitcoin that has been converted for use in the Ethereum ecosystem. 

More so, investigations revealed that his private wallets on Ethereum are four. He was said to have carried out two large transactions with the wallets around March 2022, a few months before the collapse of Terra. According to on-chain data, Kwon moved 42.2 million USDC from his first wallet to his fourth wallet. He also transferred 102.28 WBTC from his second wallet to that same wallet within the same period. 

Nevertheless, these revelations have continued to aid prosecutors in their investigations against Do Kwon and his fellow co-founder, Daniel Shin. Around November 2022, it was reported that not less than 6983 Bitcoins and other on-chain assets belonging to Kwon were stored in Luna Foundation Guard (LFG)’s Binance wallet. Since then, on-chain analytic firms have continued to track all transactions unfolding in the wallet. According to findings, Kwon created the wallet in 2021 to protect the price of LUNC. 

Amid efforts to identify and freeze these assets, Whale Alert reported the transfer of about 5,929 BTC from the wallet to a new anonymous wallet. On the same day, there was also another transfer of US$18 million worth of USD Coin (USDC) stablecoins from another wallet linked to Kwon. The transferred stablecoins were reportedly swapped into crypto assets to make it difficult for authorities to freeze them. How all these transactions unfolded despite Kwon’s imprisonment in Montenegro is still a mystery to prosecutors. 

Recently, the U.S. SEC alleged that he moved 10,000 BTCs to a Swiss account. Immediately, the Swiss prosecutors acted on the information and eventually seized $26 million in digital assets belonging to him. Kwon had kept the digital assets in Sygnum bank. 

Meanwhile, there are still indications that he has more digital assets in other wallets that are yet to be uncovered by prosecutors. He is described as a very smart crypto investor, with huge exposure to Bitcoin. Therefore, we can affirm that apart from the returns he amassed from the early success of his Terra project, Do Kwon also made his net worth through early investment in Bitcoin. You can as well check our list of other renowned Bitcoin investors

Prior to the collapse of Terra, Kwon was regarded as a Luna whale. He even vowed to be the last whale holding the asset around 2021. However, it is not certain that the Terra co-founder has kept his promise. According to several sources in South Korea, he liquidated a major portion of his Luna holding in May to perfect his initial bail from detention. 

Crypto and NFT Projects Featuring Do Kwon

Kwon made Messari’s Founders NFT edition. The NFT edition was developed on OpenSea by the artist to celebrate founders of crypto projects and their impacts on the industry. One of the collections features a drawn image of Kwon on a background enveloped with his name. 

Also, Kwon earned the attention of Wall Street Memes, particularly amid his ongoing probe by prosecutors in South Korea. Just like Doge, Wall Street Memes is widely popular due to its amusing social media memes. It focuses on the usage of these memes to stimulate humor, build a vast community, and foster mass adoption of cryptocurrency. Over the past few years, the project featured activities of big guys in the industry, like Sam Bankman-Fried, Changpeng Zhao, Jeff Bezos, and several others as memes. 

Driven by its vision, Wall Street Memes has continued to entertain and engage its large followers on Instagram and Twitter. Its memes are so attractive to the extent that they command widespread accolades. Therefore, it is not surprising to see the project flourishing despite the competitive nature of the meme market. 

Over the past few years, it has been able to build and sustain an army of community supporters on social media. Some members of its community command tremendous influence to the extent that they are among the few followed by Elon Musk on Twitter. This alone illustrates the standard of people following Wall Street Memes. Also, it gives a clue about why Musk has not only noticed the project but also interacted with it. 

Visit wallstmemes.com to participate in the ongoing presale. 

Do Kwon’s Net Worth – Our Verdict

Despite serving a jail term in Montenegro over forgery, Do Kwon is still wanted by other prosecutors across the globe for his involvement in the collapse of Terra. The aftermath of the crisis was so disastrous that some of the investors almost committed suicide after losing their life savings to the project. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Terra co-founder is on the wanted list of authorities, particularly in South Korea and the U.S. 

Nevertheless, his lawyers have already filed an appeal against his ongoing jail sentence in Montenegro. Whether the appeal goes through or not, Kwon will still be extradited to the U.S. or South Korea to face his charges, which include fraud, securities law violations, and many more. However, he has continued to deny all these allegations. 

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FAQs

Why was Do Kwon jailed in Montenegro?

Do Kwon was jailed for four months in Montenegro because he was found guilty of forging his passport.

What's the 2023 net worth of Do Kwon?

The 2023 net worth of Do Kwon, according to estimates, is around $135 million.

When did the Terra project crash?

Kwon’s Terra project crashed in May 2022.