LEO Token (LEO)

LEO Token also known as UNUS SED LEO is a utility token and that provides holders with discounts on trading, lending, and exchange fees on the cryptocurrency exchanges run by iFinex which include , Ethfinex, and EOSfinex. [12] [1]



iFinex launched the UNUS SED LEO in May 2019 in an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) for LEO in May (private sale) and in June (public sale) where the token was sold for $1 a piece on a 1:1 basis for , raising a total of $1 billion over a 10-day period. [2][14]

LEO tokens were initially issued on two blockchains: 660 million ERC-20 tokens were issued on and 340 million EOS-based tokens on EOS. The exchange allows for cross-chain conversions. [3][8]

The launch of the LEO token came after the alleged partial government seizure of Bitfinex assets which were held by Crypto Capital in the Summer of 2018 and the BitFinex Hack in 2016 where 119,756 was stolen by hackers. [21]

The name UNUS SED LEO comes from the Latin phrase “Unus Sed Leo”, pulled from the Greek storyteller Aesop’s fable The Sow and the Lioness. Translated as “one, but a lion”, the phrase encapsulates the fable’s moral, which centers on the philosophy of quality over quantity, in that the might and bravery of a single lion cub is greater than an entire sow’s litter. [13]

Crypto Capital Seizure

Previously in late summer of 2018, Crypto Capital represented to Bitfinex that funds held in its custody had been the subject to a partial government seizure, although they were expected to be released shortly. By the end of 2018, Bitfinex grew concerned that  Crypto  Capital might fail to return funds held there,  and began negotiating a  credit facility for a secured, revolving line of credit. [4]

BitFinex Hack

On the 2nd of August 2016, suffered a hack in its system leading to a loss of 119,756 worth about US$72 million at the time. halted withdrawals and trading after a breach was reported. Exchange customers, including those whose accounts had not been broken into, had their account balance reduced by 36% and received BFX tokens (debt tokens) in proportion to their losses. The BFX tokens could be used towards company equity or could be redeemed by .

On the 25th of February 2019, Bitfinex was able to recover 27.7 BTC with the help of the U.S. government. In relation, two Israeli brothers, Eli and Assaf Gigi were arrested for their alleged involvement in the 2016 hack. [5][15][18]

An additional 6.5 BTC was recovered on 14th December 2021 in collaboration with Poloniex, a digital token exchange. [16][17]

The recovered funds were converted to USD and paid to RRT (Recovery Right Token) Holders. continues to pursue multiple strategies for recovery by collaborating with law enforcement and third parties to track and seize the stolen bitcoins as soon as they reach any exchange or business.

In February 2022, a New York couple, Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather R. Morgan were arrested and charged by the U.S. federal authorities for conspiring to launder the stolen funds and defraud the United States. Of the 119,756 BTC stolen from the Bitfinex platform, the U.S. Department of Justice recovered nearly 94,000 BTC (worth approximately $3.6 billion at the time of recovery). In a statement, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said it was “the department’s largest financial seizure ever". [5][5][11][19][20]

In an announcement to their community, Bitfinex explained that they will work with the DOJ to establish their rights to a return of the stolen bitcoin. They also explained that if they receive a recovery of the stolen bitcoin, as described in the UNUS SED LEO token white paper, Bitfinex will, within 18 months of the date it receives that recovery use an amount equal to 80% of the recovered net funds to repurchase and burn outstanding UNUS SED LEO tokens. These token repurchases can be accomplished in open market transactions or by acquiring UNUS SED LEO in over-the-counter trades, including directly trading bitcoin for UNUS SED LEO. [18]



Every month, iFinex and its associates buy back an amount of LEO from the market equal to a minimum of 27% of the consolidated gross revenues of iFinex from the previous month, continually until no tokens will remain in commercial circulation.

iFinex and its subsidiaries plan to repurchase and burn outstanding LEO tokens, with an amount equal to 95% of net funds recovered from Crypto Capital.

iFinex and its subsidiaries plan to also repurchase and burn outstanding LEO tokens, with an amount equal to at least 80% of net funds recovered from the hack. [5]

The Transparency Initiative

On the 14th of June 2019, BitFinex announced the launch of the UNUS SED LEO transparency initiative. A program where token holders are provided with unique, verifiable insights into the token buyback process. This includes access to insights into all collected platform fees and continuous LEO burns. This information is displayed on the UNUS SED LEO dashboard and can be accessed via the official website. [10]

The first implementation of the burn mechanism only includes revenue from trading fees. However, the Bitfinex team said it has plans to expand to include all revenue streams - deposit or withdrawal fees, funding fees, and other exchange products which will result in an all-encompassing token buyback mechanism. The UNUS SED LEO mechanism went live at 10.00 AM UTC, 14th June 2019 with the tokens being burned every 3 hours until 100% of the supply has been removed from circulation. [7]

The total lifespan of the UNUS SED LEO cryptocurrency is subject to the amount of fees generated through iFinex. [15]


LEO token offers taker fee reduction and lending fee reduction for trading platforms, products, and services provided by iFinex. All tiers of LEO holders’ taker fees are to be reduced by 15% for all crypto-to-crypto pairs, including the crypto-to-stablecoin pairs. Bitfinex also announced that LEO holders with more than 5,000 USDT in LEO will be eligible for taker fee reductions of 10%. [6]

LEO holders are entitled to up to 25% discount on withdrawal and deposit fees. This 25% deduction is to be removed in LEO first, provided the trader has these tokens in their portfolio. Also, the withdrawal and deposit fee discounts are eligible for any user holding more than $50 million worth of LEO tokens to withdraw up to $2 million without incurring additional fees. These discounts apply to platforms that operate under the iFinex banner - BitFinex, EOSfinex, and any future platforms built under the iFinex banner. [4][8]

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LEO Token (LEO)

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December 18, 2023


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