Nov 12, 2022 - Economy & Business

Untangling two threads about FTX and user funds

Illustration of a number sign made out of crime scene tape.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

There are two stories playing out in the media right now about improper use of funds at FTX, the formerly high-flying crypto platform that stunned markets this week in a spectacular meltdown that unfolded within mere days. A casual reader could easily confuse them.

Why it matters: The bankruptcy of the crypto exchange FTX, led by celebrity CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, is one of the biggest stories in the business world right now, but to understand it readers need to be able to keep its many threads untangled.

Details: Observers are following two separate cases of FTX customer funds improperly leaving the exchange.

  • FTX allegedly improperly loaned customer funds to Alameda Research, its sister firm which trades cryptocurrency. Much of this appears to have simply been lost in bad trades, but Reuters reports $1 billion cannot be accounted for.
  • Overnight, someone stole $400 million of remaining funds at FTX.

By the numbers: Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency market's bellwether, is now down about 25% from its price before FTX began to unwind following a damning report by CoinDesk.

What we're watching: The most important question for consumers and companies that had funds on the exchange is how much will ultimately be recovered through the bankruptcy process.

  • Everyone who had funds on FTX when it halted withdrawals is likely to come up short when the process is finalized.
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