NEW YORK/LONDON: With major cryptocurrency exchange FTX on the brink of collapse, some investors are beginning to question the viability of a sector already bruised by the bitcoin bubble bursting and closures of key market players.Crypto markets have come under intense pressure this year, as rising interest rates prompt investors to ditch risky or speculative assets.
The collapse of several crypto lenders, including Celsius and Voyager, major tokens terraUSD and Luna, and hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, had rung alarm bells even before the fiasco at FTX, headed by Sam Bankman-Fried.He was racing on Thursday to find finance to prop up his embattled crypto exchange, according to a Slack message to FTX staff seen by Reuters, after rival Binance scrapped a proposed bailout following a review of the company's structure and books.A spokesperson for FTX did not comment on the Slack message.
Bankman-Fried later said in a series of tweets that FTX was seeking to raise liquidity.Some in the industry say this fundraising challenge could be beyond him, however, as concerns over patchy oversight and counterparty risk begin to overwhelm likely returns from the asset class, at least in the near-to-medium term."From a financial side, it's fair to say that confidence is going to be somewhat shaken because if you can't trust FTX then what can you trust?" Yat Siu, co-founder of Hong Kong-based investor Animoca Brands, told Reuters on Wednesday.FTX's swift fall from grace followed heavy speculation about its financial health that triggered $6 billion of withdrawals in just 72 hours earlier this week.
The company had published a valuation of $32 billion as recently as January."What makes this new phase of deleveraging more problematic is