FTX was one of the greatest crypto exchange companies in the world founded in 2019 by Sam Bankman-Fried. The FTX platform allowed people to buy and sell crypto assets i.e. bitcoin, ether etc. The company used aggressive marketing and low trading fees which lead to fast growth in a few years. FTX issued its own token, FTT.
Sam Bankman-Fried was also the founder of Alameda Research, which was a trading firm.
Here is a timeline of the facts:
November 2nd 2022
Coindesk reported that Alameda’s balance sheet was “full” of FTT, FTX’s “own centrally controlled and printed-out-of-thin-air token” and “not an independent asset like a fiat currency or another cryptocurrency”. FTX’s and Alameda’s CEO didn’t respond for comment.
November 6th 2022
Changpeng Zhao (CZ) the CEO of the crypto exchange Binance announced that he intended to sell off Binance holdings in FTT because of the Coindesk news. Binance held $ billion of FTT. CZ’s announcement led to a “bank run” where investors started selling their FTT holdings in FTT resulting to a significant drop in price.
November 8th 2022
Binance signs a non-binding letter to acquire FTX.com to help cover the liquidity crunch, after conducting full due diligence.
November 9th 2022
CZ announced that Binance has completed its “corporate due diligence” on FTX financials and announced that it would not pursue with the potential acquisition of FTX.com. CZ referred to “mishandled funds”.
November 10th 2022
Sam Bankman-Fried announces that Alameda Research will shut down. FTX assets in the Bahamas were frozen by the regulator.
November 11th, 2022
FTX ceased processing crypto withdrawals. FTX, FTX US and Alameda filed for bankruptcy. The CEO is replaced by John J Ray III, an attorney and insolvency professional with decades of experience in bankruptcy of large corporations, including Enron. FTX suffered a more than $600 million hack on its platform.
November 14th 2022
Reuters reports that at least $1 billion of client funds are missing from FTX and that Bankman-Fried secretly moved $100 billion in funds to trading firm Alameda.
November 16th 2022
Sam Bankman-Fried tells Vox that he regrets for filing for bankruptcy and instead, insisted that he should have kept trying to raise more money. Crypto lending unit Genesis Global Capital with $2.8 billion active loans suspended customer withdrawals due to FTX collapse.
Crypto Exchange Gemini suffers $485 million outflows, resulting in the suspension of its yield-earning program. A few hours later, Gemini announces that all customer funds are held 1:1 and available for withdrawal at any time.
November 17th 2022
In court bankruptcy filing, the New FTX CEO said:
“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here. From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented.”
November 21, 2022
Sam Bankman-Fried says to CNBC that, despite the bankruptcy proceedings, he is still trying to secure a bailout deal. Additionally, he said “I think we should be trying to get as much value to users as possible. I hate what happened and deeply wish that I had been more careful,”
Failure of corporate controls, lack of systems integrity and regulatory oversight, handling of the company from a few, inexperienced individuals and many other failures led to the collapse of a crypto giant.
Measures that could have prevented the collapse:
- Effective governance arrangements
- Robust risk management controls
- Appropriate regulatory oversight
- Experienced staff to be employed at key positions.