The Rise and Fall of Do-Kwon: A Crypto Entrepreneur’s Journey from Success to Controversy

Edited picture of Do-Kwon looking at a camera (Financial Times)

South Korean Stanford graduate Kwon Do-Hyung, the mastermind behind the groundbreaking cryptocurrency “LUNA”, amassed a wealth of $60 billion from his online investments. Do-Kwon is known for his many business endeavors but is most popular for the creation of the Terraform crypto ecosystem project.

After studying in South Korea until 2010, he pursued his education at Stanford University, studying computer science. This background in computers allowed him to pursue his passion in the technology industry. His technological knowledge enabled him to later found AnyFi, a project that gained over $1 million in funding from enthusiastic investors. 

Later in his career, Do-Kwon entered the world of cryptocurrencies and their potential “real-world” uses. He would later go on to co-write a paper arguing the possibility of stopping cryptocurrency value volatility. This paper subsequently caught the attention of Daniel Shin, who worked with Do-Kwon to form the Terraform Labs company, where they then created LUNA in 2018. LUNA soon reached a staggering total net value of $60 billion. However, in May 2022, LUNA had a 100% value decrease due to selloffs from investors, prompting an investigation from the South Korean police working in Tandem with Interpol. 

Do-Kwon claimed that he was not on the run after receiving an international arrest warrant. He responded to messages on Twitter, stating that he had no intention to hide and was simply “writing code in my living room”. Surprisingly, South Korean prosecutors referred to Do-Kwon as a fugitive on the run, raising public interest surrounding his case. 

No long after, Do-Kwon decided to appear in a live stream with popular crypto podcaster Martin Shkreli. Shkreli, a former pharmaceutical executive, was arrested and served seven years in jail for fraud. This exchange between the two provided a glimpse into his mindset as he navigated the allegations against him. In the live stream, Shkreli told Do-Kwon that “jail’s not that bad”. Responding to this, Do-Kwon said, “Good to know”. On March 24th, he was arrested and taken into court in May this year. 

Do-Kwon, arrested in Montenegro, was found to be concealing his whereabouts from the police. He was identified through a matching fingerprint scan in an airport, where he was found with counterfeit documentation while trying to board a flight. Despite the turn of events, Do-Kwon has made bold statements, saying that the charges against him were “illegitimate” and “politically motivated,” setting the stage for an intense legal battle. During the court case, he pleaded not guilty to the charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, commodities fraud, and conspiracy.

In the wake of Do-Kwon’s fall from grace, the cryptocurrency community and financial markets have fallen under intense speculation and uncertainty. Analysts are dissecting the intricate details of the Terraform Labs saga, debating the broader implications for the future of blockchain technology. Having once been captivated by Do-Kwon’s vision, investors are now wrestling with the repercussions of this situation on their portfolios and the broader crypto market. Additionally, legal experts closely monitor the unfolding courtroom drama, examining how Do-Kwon’s defense strategies and the charges leveled against him could set a precedent for future cases in the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency regulation. The narrative surrounding Do-Kwon continues to evolve, leaving an indelible mark on the ever-fluctuating crypto landscape.

The aftermath of Do-Kwon’s difficulties in the crypto market prompted tremendous changes in patterns and financial backers’ investments and have raised questions about Terraform Labs’ future. This past July, Do-Kwon mocked critics, including a British economist who criticized his cryptocurrency, saying “I don’t debate the poor on Twitter, and sorry I don’t have any change on me for her at the moment.”

As the crypto community and monetary business sectors contend with the aftermath of Do-Kwon’s ascent and fall, the future of his ventures remain uncertain.

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