FTX-backed Startup Forced into ‘Cockroach Mode’ after Funds Vanish within 6 Weeks
Armani Ferrante, the former Alameda Research engineer and founder of Coral, had just raised $20 million from FTX and others when the exchange started imploding. Ferrante and his co-founder were on a flight from Lisbon when they were trying desperately to figure out what was going on at FTX, but no one responded. Coral lost the entirety of FTX’s investment on the exchange, about $14.5 million. Ferrante and his team had to “go into cockroach mode” and analyze their runway to make cuts where they had to in order to stay afloat. They had to “really prioritize like, how do we make money? How do we make it to the next round? How do we stay alive?” said Ferrante on The Scoop podcast with Frank Chaparro. Despite the setback, Coral managed to get the xNFT protocol live and on Solana and its wallet, Backpack, on Solana and Ethereum and available for download in beta form. Backpack is a social wallet, which could be crucial for NFT communities, said Eden Au, research director at The Block Research.
Backpack will join a market already brimming with wallets. John Dantoni, a research director at The Block Research, said, “the xNFT part goes in line with ‘being an App Store’ where you’ll be able to buy, sell, transfer and interact with applications directly inside your wallet, as opposed to the current set up where you use your browser wallet and sign.” Ferrante compares Backpack as a wallet to the way the iPhone is a phone, saying, “with the iPhone, you can call people, you can text people, but it’s so much more than that, right? It’s got this really rich application ecosystem. It’s got unique developer tooling that’s got this awesome, secure, heavily curated app store with incredible user experiences. We’re really trying to be like the gateway into web3.” Coral’s Backpack is available for download in beta form and aims to provide a unique user experience with secure developer tooling and a heavily curated app store.