The implosion of Alameda Research has had far reaching effects on the crypto market, but perhaps none are as clearly visible as its effect on liquidity.
A Nov. 15 report from blockchain data provider Kaiko shows that Bitcoin’s market depth dropped off significantly in the last seven days. Aggregating data across 18 exchanges including Alameda’s sister company, FTX, Kaiko found that BTC liquidity fell to its lowest level since early June.
Market depth captures the number of different buy and sell orders at various prices. A market with a high amount of depth could fill with orders without crashing its price; the lower the depth, the more brittle a coin’s price.
Alameda was one of the biggest market makers in the space, and liquidity has thinned across the board since its collapse – something Kaiko has called “the Alameda Gap.” Since Nov. 5, analysts found that Bitcoin’s market depth fell 57% on Kraken, 25% on Binance and 18% on Coinbase.
Kaiko found the loss of liquidity had also spread to other markets. Its report showed Ethereum also declined in liquidity, with altcoin markets suffering the most. Solana’s market depth is now under half of what it used to be before FTX and Alameda collapsed.
The Kaiko analysts said that liquidity commonly drops during periods of volatility because market makers pull trades off order books to manage risks. “But the drop in liquidity we have observed over the past week is far larger than any other previous market drawdown, which suggests the Alameda Gap in liquidity could be here to stay, at least in the short term,” they said.
Last November, crypto publication Protos published an investigative report that revealed Alameda is one of the biggest buyers of USDT. The firm received $36.7 billion from Tether in the last year alone.
Rishi Prasad, a product manager at Coinbase, anticipates the fallout from Alameda’s collapse could degrade liquidity and cost of execution in the markets they operated in.
“I’ve heard multiple projects mention Alameda still owes them their tokens back, and many projects are scrambling to find a new [market maker],” tweeted Prasad.