It’s official: FTX is missing a lot of its customers’ funds.
How much is a lot? Try around $9 billion.
In a preliminary analysis released by the bankrupt crypto exchange on March 2, FTX laid out its current findings for stakeholders. And it confirmed the worst: a “massive shortfall,” as only around $2.2 billion in customers’ assets have been located. Furthermore, even less of that amount – $694 million – is in liquid assets such as cash, stablecoins, Bitcoin or Ether.
One of the reasons FTX ended up in this predicament involved the borrowing of customers’ funds by its trading firm, Alameda Research. The presentation claims that Alameda had been provided with $9.3 billion from FTX customers. A further $191 million was borrowed by Alameda from customers of the US-based exchange, FTX US.
While the disgraced FTX co-founder and ex-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried once claimed FTX US was completely isolated from FTX’s problems, the company’s latest analysis found that FTX US has a shortfall in the hundreds of millions as well.
“It has taken a huge effort to get this far,” said John J. Ray III, FTX’s current CEO who took over amidst the bankruptcy, in a statement. “The exchanges’ assets were highly commingled, and their books and records are incomplete and, in many cases, totally absent. For these reasons, it is important to emphasize that this information is still preliminary and subject to change. We believe it is more important to provide transparency to stakeholders by making this information public now than to wait until we can achieve certainty.”
FTX was once one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world. However, in November of last year, reports emerged saying that its sister company, Alameda Research, was insolvent. Soon after, competitor Binance sold off its holdings of FTX’s cryptocurrency, FTT token. Over the next few days, billions of dollars were withdrawn from the exchange by its customers. Within a week, FTX filed for bankruptcy. Evidence was soon unveiled that Bankman-Fried had been improperly using customer funds, which led to his arrest and indictment for securities fraud.
Caroline Ellison, the CEO of Alameda Research, pled guilty to a number of fraud charges in December. She faces up to 120 years in prison. Ellison also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as they build their case against Bankman-Fried.