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A Summary of

Accused Ponzi Schemer Kept Busy

by
Matt Levine
Money Stuff
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$110 Million Ponzi Scam Run by John Woods

  • John Woods allegedly ran both an investment advisory firm called Southport Capital and an investment fund called Horizon Private Equity III LLC.
    • Horizon promised investors a "guaranteed" 6% return every year from government bonds.
  • Woods purchased Southport in 2008 and placed his brother as the Chief Investment Manager.
  • Horizon raised $110 million as many investors felt comfortable investing in the firm because they placed their trust in their Southport advisors who recommended investing in Horizon.

The Unicorn Fraud

  • The former CEO of HeadSpin was accused of inflating HeadSpin's ARR to achieve high valuations of the company.
    • HeadSpin reported an ARR of $80 million when it was really around $10 million.
  • What's unusual about this is HeadSpin was not a public company, and the former CEO only did this to raise funds from PE and VC.
  • This is especially troubling for the VC firms because:
    • They want to invest in other startups in the future, so they have to cultivate a reputation of being founder-friendly.
    • Suing HeadSpin would lead to a loss of reputation.

Last Look

  • Last look is the practice where a dealer quotes a price on a currency, and then a customer accepts that price, and then the dealer has a little time to back out of the trade.
    • Dealers only ever back out when the price of the currency has dropped instead of risen, thus giving them a small profit on each trade.
  • To make last look more "fair," the Global Foreign Exchange Committee proposed Global FX Code, which states that last look should only be used to make sure that the price hasn't moved against them.
    • This code doesn't solve anything because people only use last look when the price moves in their favor.

Video Game Serfs

  • More people are playing games that reward players with crypto coins, the most popular being Axie Infinity.
  • It is weird to think one can make a living working in a virtual world that gives little to no benefit to the real world.
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