Financial TimesFinancial Times

Crypto’s future may be divided, not dead

By Gillian Tett

10 Nov 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

The Financial Times's editor-at-large explains why the FTX saga is the equivalent of the Lehman Brothers shock in terms of the revaluation of the sector. But this does not mean crypto is dead.

Just when it seemed that cryptoland could not get any crazier — it has. Last week, Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year old wunderkind, oversaw an empire worth more than $32bn, composed of the FTX crypto brokerage and Alameda fund. He was a sports sponsor, philanthropist and backed by mainstream financiers such as BlackRock. Indeed, when I recently met “SBF” (as he is known) at a conference, he was thronged by Wall Street and Washington players.

No longer. This week SBF revealed that FTX has seen $6bn in customer withdrawals, and tried (and failed) to sell itself to his arch-rival Binance, the biggest crypto exchange. Unless he can plug a reported $8bn liquidity hole, bankruptcy looms.

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