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Finally. An interview with Do Kwon worth its salt. Author and podcast host Laura Shin is perhaps best known for her book published earlier this year, The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency, in which she uncovered the mastermind behind the 2016 attack on TheDAO.
Now, Shin has taken on LUNA founder Do Kwon in a 1.5-hour long interview for her Unchained Podcast. Unlike Do Kown’s most recent interview, which let’s be honest, was a shameless PR stunt, Shin asks the Interpol-wanted crypto outlaw critical questions that’s been on our minds.
Shin kicks off her interview by asking Do Kwon about Interpol’s Red Notice, which called for law enforcement worldwide to locate and arrest him. “How Red Notices work is something that I don’t really understand very well,” Do Kwon said. “But we haven’t heard anything back yet. We’ll do everything that we can to make clarifications and make sure that this comes to a better result.”
When asked why hasn’t returned to Korea, Do Kwon said he hadn’t been living in South Korea since the end of last year, so “returning” to Korea was not accurate.
Do Kwon also said he hasn’t seen any arrest warrant. “We haven’t seen a copy of the arrest warrants,” he said. “So every piece of data that we’re consuming regarding this is from the media, which, as you can imagine, in a situation like this, it’s kind of hectic.” When pushed by Shin about a PDF that was sent to him, Do Kwon insisted that he had not seen anything.
Still in Singapore?
Shin then asked him about his location, noting he was living in Singapore at the time of the collapse. However, on September 17, Reuters reported that the Singapore police said that he was no longer in the city-state. And within the hour after that report came out, he tweeted that he was not on the run, following which Do Kwon said he’s “making zero effort to hide.”
Do Kwon responded, “it’s not in the interest of let’s say, being on the run or something like that, that I don’t want to disclose where I live, it’s just that every time the location where it live becomes known, it becomes almost impossible for me to live there.”
Not letting it go, Shin said “can you at least answer whether or not you’re in Singapore?” Do Kwon insisted, “No, I mean, so I could answer that. But the problem is that I don’t want there to be a bunch of guesswork in terms of like which country I am living in.”
Ironically, Do Kwon not answering the question has left a “bunch of guesswork.”
Shin then moved on to whether South Korea is lying about freezing 3,133 BTC of funds. The LUNA founder had been tied to the funds by the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office, which claims he cashed out the US$39.6 million worth of Bitcoin through KuCoin and OKX shortly after the warrant for his arrest was issued.
Do Kwon attempted to evade the question by talking about market makers transferring Bitcoins when the market crashed. A calm but persistent Shin reiterates, “I feel like you’re not answering the question,” emphasizing on-chain evidence. “What do you say to this analysis that shows that these wallets are associated with LFG (Luna Foundation Guard), and have much more than the 3,133 Bitcoin that you claimed?”
Do Kwon again insisted that LFG only has 3,133 BTC but said “we’ve hired an on chain analysis company and we’ve worked with them to provide all the trading data at LFG. We’re in the closing phases. So they’ve gone through all the data. I think they’re just writing the report. So I think it should be over the next couple of weeks.”
Shin then questioned Do Kwon about his “hubris and arrogance” in his tweets when Terra was on the upswing. “You then said you had developed an entertaining alter ego, do you feel any remorse for your cocky tone during that time?”
In response, Do Kwon said he got “carried away” with interacting with crypto Twitter. “I think in retrospect, I should have held myself to a sort of a more stringent standard… but even for myself personally when I go back in time, and then when I’m presented with a tweet that I would have written a couple of years ago, it is quite cringe,” he said.
In an attempt to see if Do Kwon feels any remorse, Shin presents cases of suicides post-LUNA. “Here’s your opportunity to say something to the people who lost, what many cases was their life savings? Here’s your opportunity to say something to family who lost members to suicide? What do you want to say to them?”
With a sigh, Do Kwon replied, “For the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people that used, Terra currency, the Terra ecosystem, which was all built on the stability of UST, I own up to that responsibility fully. And it’s, it’s not easy.”
Shin sharply highlights, “I didn’t hear words like, I’m sorry, or I apologize. But do you want to offer an apology?” Do Kwon quickly replies, “Oh, yes, I am sorry” before slating those who were accusing Terra of theft or embezzlement. “I think it is important for their closure for them to have a correct representation of what exactly happened.”
Shin then questioned how he feels about his family doing well when “so many Terra users lost large sums of money or even family members to suicide.” Not really addressing the question, Do Kwon said “my family members like my wife, for instance, doesn’t own any real estate. I do own an apartment in Seoul.”
Throughout the interview, Do Kwon retained a stand-offish stance, without a shed of remorse. Shin quizzed him on the UST depeg, Degenbox, Chai, 2019 hard fork and Project Dawn.
When asked about why LFG hasn’t released accounting or trading logs, Do Kwon simply said, “A lot of firms just didn’t want to touch this. And then it took us some time to secure somebody that was willing to work on the report. And there’s a there’s a lot of transactions, right? So it took a little bit of time for them to process that data.”
Read more: Do Kwon, Kimchi & Incoming Problems
As a true test of remorse, Shin asks whether he would use his own funds to reimburse victims. “My personal funds are not significant enough to make a difference to any of these distributions,” he coldly said.
“What happened with Terra wasn’t a scam, it wasn’t a fraud. It was a massive market failure,” Do Kwon concluded about the fallout.
During the interview, Do Kwon emphasised the need to be transparent. However, despite Shin’s impressively interrogative questioning, Do Kwon’s “transparency” only surfaced in attempts to earn sympathy and clear his name. Data and evidence surrounding Do Kwon’s shady practices were largely ignored and evaded by the LUNA founder, but kudos to Shin who tried to pry answers from him.
Bizarrely, and perhaps unashamedly, Do Kwon doesn’t seem unsettled by the claims against him. Remaining calm throughout the interview, Do Kwon’s persona remained unremorseful but skilled in deflecting accusations.