"Coding as 11 purportedly independent developers, Ian, a 20-something computer wiz from Texas, created a vast web of interlocking DeFi protocols that projected billions of dollars of double-counted value onto the Saber ecosystem. That temporarily inflated the total value locked (TVL) on Solana, as the network was racing toward its zenith last November.
“I devised a scheme to maximize Solana’s TVL: I would build protocols that stack on top of each other, such that a dollar could be counted several times,” Ian wrote in a never-published blog post reviewed by CoinDesk. The blog post was prepared on March 26, three days after Cashio, one of Ian’s secretly built protocols, lost $52 million in a hack. Ian wrote that if the hacker didn’t pay users back in full, “I will do what I can to repay affected personal users in my personal Saber and Sunny tokens. This won’t cover the full amount, but it’s all I have to offer.” He never made good on that unpublished pledge.
Ian’s ploy worked for a while. By his count, Saber and Sunny comprised $7.5 billion of Solana’s $10.5 billion TVL at their peak. (Billions of those dollars were double-counted between his two protocols.) In public, Ian and his brother Dylan called their anonymous personas “friends,” or “friends of friends.” Their “Ship Capital” coder club was laying the “blueprints for my ideal DeFi ecosystem,” Ian wrote in the unpublished blog. The Macalinaos in May published “Saber Public Goods” to propagate the “Saber team’s” prolific code across Solana. Eight of Ian’s 11 secret projects appear there. Their disclosure is mum on the anons and their master. Sunny and Cashio, whose tokens imploded, don’t show up, either.
The brothers cast off from Solana for Aptos, an up-and-coming blockchain – porting Saber with them. Many Solana developers are in tow, a venture capital source said. The Macalinaos are betting on it: they helm a VC that’s anchored in Aptos, three sources said. Their VC is called Protagonist. Its old name was “Ship Capital.”"
- Protagonist VC; fka Ship Capital, co-founders and general partners. “are no longer affiliated with the fund or any of its affiliates,” the fund confirmed to CoinDesk (2-9-2022).
- Saber; founder
- Aka Surya Khosla of Sunny Aggregator, Ship Capital had many “friends": 0xGhostchain, who created Cashio; Goki Rajesh, builder of multi-signature wallet Goki; Larry Jarry from mining rewards aggregator Quarry; Swaglioni, the “grandmaster” of governance platform TribecaDAO all being Ian. Lesser-known protocols Crate (run by kiwipepper), aSOL (0xAurelion), Arrow (oliver_code) Traction.Market (0xIsaacNewton), Sencha (jjmatcha) and Venko App (ayyakovenko), rounded out the crown, according to Ian’s blog.