FTX: figures for a historic fall
US platform FTX has collapsed like a house of cards. A look back at a scandal that will leave its mark on the crypto industry.
"Indescribable", "unimaginable"... For the past week, people have been searching for words to describe the fall of FTX, which was until now one of the three leading crypto exchange platforms on the planet. While all the elements of this affair are not yet known (we're working on them), some figures help to take the measure of the event.
That's how long it took FTX to go bankrupt. It all started on 6 November when Binance boss "CZ" announced on Twitter that he was going to sell just over $500 million worth of FTT, the US platform's token largely owned by Alameda Research, another company controlled by... Sam Bankman-Fried.
In less than 48 hours, the price of the FTT token plummeted and withdrawals from FTX exploded, revealing SBF's accounting and financial manipulations. Instead of having a reserve of several billion dollars, FTX had nothing in the bank. On 11 November the company, which is also regulated in the Bahamas, filed for bankruptcy in the United States.
That's the "hole" reportedly in FTX's coffers. The exchange was supposed to have just over $10 billion in reserves, corresponding to its customers' assets. During our interview with SBF at the end of October, we asked him about FTX's financial health and the young billionaire explained that everything was "fine".
However, according to the latest information, FTX only has just over $1 billion in reserves, part of which has been siphoned off in recent days as part of a hack carried out by a member of... FTX.
1 million customers
That's the number of customers reportedly affected by the affair. For just over a week, no one has been able to withdraw funds from FTX. The site is no longer available. To prevent what little money is left from being recouped by SBF and some of its relatives, the other players in the sector have frozen the addresses linked to the American platform.
32 billion dollars
That was the value of FTX just a few weeks ago. At that level, it's more than a European bank like Societe Generale or Barclays. Since its creation in 2019, the platform has raised almost $2 billion - almost $1 billion in 2022 alone - from dozens of investors, including giants such as Sequoia and SoftBank. Today those investments are worthless.
The fall of FTX and the platform's importance in the sector has sent shockwaves. Last week, bitcoin briefly fell below $16,000, a level it had not reached since mid-2020, and the markets lost $200 billion out of a total of just over $1 trillion.