Wintermute paid $83m to its UK employees in 2021, which included $22.5m to one director.
A cryptocurrency trading company based in London made an average of $2.3m per year (£1.9m) before the market’s 1trn collapse.
Newly filed accounts reveal that Wintermute, one the fastest-growing cryptocurrency hedge fund in the world, paid its 36 UK employees $83m in 2021.
These figures show that the company made 30 crypto millionaires before the market crashed, with an average payout amount of $2.3m. These large payouts were made before the historic collapse of the cryptocurrency market, which saw $1trn wipe out the market’s value.
Wintermute earned $582m in profits during the twelve months to December 2021. The company’s revenues grew to $818.5m in 2020.
Named after the artificial intelligence in Neuromancer’s 1984 science fiction novel, the company has been a key market maker and liquidity provider in the volatile cryptocurrency industry. Wintermute is a prominent British cryptocurrency business, with most of its major players located in the US and Asia.
Wintermute’s algorithm aims to make tiny fractions of a dollar out of arbitrage (or the price difference) on millions of trades. In 2021, it traded in cryptocurrencies for $1.5trn.
According to accounts, directors, including Evgeny Gaevoy the founder, received shared fees of $31m in 2021. From $1.6m last year, the highest-paid director received $22.5m. The fund’s 38-year-old director, Mr Gaevoy, along with Marina Gurevich, raised the initial funding for Wintermute.
The crypto trader was born in Russia and educated there. He then moved to Amsterdam in 2006, and later to London in 2017.
Wintermute’s profits have plummeted this year, despite rising prices in 2021. This is in line with the market tanking. Forbes reported that the company had reported revenues of $225 million in the first nine months of 2022.
According to Mr Gaevoy, the $160m hack that occurred in September was also due to human error, which left one of its digital wallets vulnerable.
After the implosions of FTX, and Alameda Research, Wintermute has become one of the largest digital currency market players. FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 1st with $8bn in black in its accounts. This was after it used customer deposits as fuel to fund risky trades at Alameda.
Sam Bankman-Fried is the founder of FTX and Alameda. He has been accused of fraud of misleading investors and using customer deposits. He pleaded not guilty last week at a New York court. One million creditors have been left out of pocket by the failure of FTX, which includes multiple digital currency trading firms that used its exchange.
Mr Gaevoy revealed that Wintermute holds approximately $55 million in cryptocurrency as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.
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