FTX, bankruptcy that shakes cryptocurrencies

Sam Bankman-Fried, boss of the second world platform for the exchange of cryptocurrency, resigned.

by Arnaud Leparmentier (New York, correspondent)

A week ago, the fortune of Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, was estimated by the Bloomberg agency at $ 16 billion (15.5 billion euros). Today it is equal to zero. His company FTX, the second world cryptocurrency exchange platform, collapsed and broke out in bankruptcy, Friday, November 11 with a Delaware court, with some 130 subsidiaries, in what announces as the greatest fall in the world of cryptocurrencies.

A scandal whose contours are still unknown, but which could be to cryptocurrency what was the bankruptcy in 2001 of the Enron electricity broker for accounting listeners (the cabinet Arthur Andersen had been accused at the time of having participated to fraud) and, in 2008, that of Lehman Brothers for banks.

The platform, which employs 300 people, was considered one of the safest in the world. She leaves on the tile some 100,000 customers who have deposited their electronic and capital tokens at home. According to the American press, Sam Bankman-Fried has simply used more than half of the $ 16 billion in capital deposited by its customers to finance its own cryptofine Alameda, based in Bahamas. According to the Wall Street Journal, Alameda, which took extremely risky financial bets, owes $ 10 billion to FTX. And at least $ 1 billion drawn from customer deposits has disappeared, according to Reuters.

Thus, the world of cryptocurrencies seems to have allowed itself what has been prohibited in the United States since the 1929 crisis – strengthened prohibition after the 2008 financial crisis: to use its customers to speculate for your own account . The dry, the gendarme of the US scholarship, investigates this scandal of cryptodes.

The FTX company is now led by a bankruptcy specialist, John Ray, who supervised the liquidation of Enron in 2001. He will have to manage assets and debts in an amount that would be valued between 10 and 50 billion of dollars. “The FTX group has precious assets which can only be managed effectively within the framework of an organized process,” said Ray, quoted by the Financial Times.

For months, cryptocurrencies have multiplied failures, with the collapse of bitcoins and other cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is worth around 16,700 dollars, four times less than the record reached a year ago. What was to be digital gold, offering stability of the courses, guarantee of authenticity and protection against the arbitrariness of governments, turned out to be volatile as the action of a Nasdaq start-up during the Internet bubble and totally permeable to flights and other manipulations. The platforms that manage them in an unregulated manner found themselves with increasing liquidity problems, when the savers tried to find their balls.

You have 60.18% of this article to read. The continuation is reserved for subscribers.

/Media reports.