Cryptocurrencies: the new boss of FTX seeks reassurance after suspicious movements that would have caused the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars

FTX’s drop continues to do damage. The now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange is plagued by unauthorized asset transactions that could result in the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars. A situation that forced the new boss of the group to communicate.

“FTX US and continue to make every effort to secure all assets, wherever located”tried to reassure John Ray, new CEO and responsible for the restructuring of the group, in a message posted, Saturday, November 12, on Twitter by Ryne Millerlegal officer of FTX. “Unauthorized access to certain assets has occurred”confirmed John Ray.

This replaced Friday at the head of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried, its founder, who had just resigned. The cryptocurrency exchange platform, a very little regulated sector, was placed under the protection of Chapter 11 of the American bankruptcy law on the same day. The company had valued its assets at between $10 billion and $50 billion (€9 billion to €48 billion) and listed more than 130 affiliates worldwide, according to its bankruptcy filing.

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Assets placed on a wallet not connected to the Internet

FTX officials did not provide details on the amount of transactions observed in the illicit movements in question, but the cryptocurrency analysis firm Elliptic specifies, in an analysis published on Saturday, that “only twenty-four hours after filing for bankruptcy (…)FTX wallets have been drained of over $663 million”. In details, “$477 million was allegedly stolen, while the rest was transferred to secure storage by FTX itself”says Elliptic.

“Among other things, we are in the process of removing trading and withdrawal functionality and transferring as many digital assets as possible to a new cold wallet custodian” – a wallet not connected to the Internet intended to store cryptocurrency without an external takeover being possible – thus detailed the new boss of FTX in the statement published on Twitter. John Ray also clarified: “An active examination of the facts (…) was launched immediately in response. We have been in contact and are coordinating with relevant law enforcement and regulators. »

FTX, which was still considered the second largest cryptocurrency platform in the world ten days ago and was valued at some $32 billion, has suffered a meteoric rout.

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Friday marked a turning point after a hectic week. The group’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, considered to be behind one of the most influential successes in the cryptocurrency universe and so far a multi-billionaire, has resigned and been replaced in the process by John Ray.

“Unclear facts”

Then, overnight, FTX’s chief legal officer, Ryne Miller, tweeted about a “investigating anomalies with portfolio movements related to the consolidation of FTX balances between exchanges”and had mentioned “facts unclear, as other movements are unclear”. He then, on Saturday morning, let it be known that “unauthorized transactions” had been observed, and that the platform had “took precautionary measures to move all digital assets to cold storage”. “The process has been accelerated [vendredi] evening to mitigate damages when observing unauthorized transactions”he specified.

The discomfiture came to light when press reports revealed that his Alameda Research fund was investing in cryptoassets issued by in a risky financial arrangement that risks revealing major conflicts of interest. FTX’s troubles were also accentuated by the number one in the sector, Binance, which announced that it was selling a cryptocurrency linked to the FTX group on Sunday then offered to buy on Tuesday before retracting on Wednesday.

Read also: Cryptocurrencies: Binance victim of a giant fraud

The group is under investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission (the US federal agency for regulating and supervising financial markets) and the Department of Justice in New York, according to the New York Times, which cites sources close to the investigation. And the fall from favor has extended to the NBA, with the Miami Heat announcing that its venue, the FTX Arena, will be renamed.

Le Monde with AP and AFP

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