Behind the Collapse of FTX and SBF: Traditional Finance vs. Crypto
When the SBF announced FTX and 130 affiliated companies have filed for bankruptcy protection, people lost their final bit of trust in the former billionaire. Meanwhile, people within and outside the crypto community started to criticize the industry for its lack of transparency. That being said, can SBF and his FTX & Alameda Research really represent the whole crypto industry? Is the fall of FTX the fault of crypto?
There is nothing new in Wall Street
Jesse Livermore was once considered the greatest trader of all time. In his biography titled Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, which is one of the best-sellers on investment, Livermore told us how he felt about Wall Street when he first arrived there: “Another lesson I learned early is that there is nothing new in Wall Street. There can’t be because speculation is as old as the hills. Whatever happens in the stock market today has happened before and will happen again.” Repeatedly, history proved that this statement is right. What is interesting is that when Livermore, one of the richest traders in the world at the time, committed suicide, he had liabilities greater than his assets.
What happened with FTX is nothing new in Wall Street. For instance, Lehman Brothers, which had $613 billion in debt, also sought bailouts from many institutional investors, but the Wall Street executives refused its request after going through the accounts of this legendary investment bank. Ultimately, Lehman Brothers had no choice but to file bankruptcy protection.
The fall of Lehman Brothers sounds familiar. FTX and Alameda, founded by “genius trader” SBF, have at least billions of dollars in debt. After we heard reports revealing the problems with Alameda’s balance sheet, SBF tweeted that the company was healthy but began to seek bailouts from institutional investors and even competitors in private. Despite such efforts, ultimately, investors had to face FTX’s application for bankruptcy protection.
SBF: Guardian or Betrayer?
After the Luna meltdown, many reports suggested that FTX offered help to many institutions hurt by the incident, though many acquisitions did not actually take place. As the media painted SBF as a crypto savior, the man was lobbying U.S. regulators in an attempt to pass the Possible Digital Asset Industry Standards.
The draft of the document was opposed by many crypto practitioners after it was released because it considers freezing funds on the chain as a normal practice. Moreover, the draft suggests that DeFi platforms should register themselves as broker-dealers. It also advocates KYC in DeFi. FTX is an iconic CEX, which makes people doubt the motivations behind its attack on DeFi. This is also why many call SBF a hypocrite and believe that he wants to destroy the crypto industry.
After FTX filed bankruptcy, U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer tweeted: “Gary Gensler runs to the media while reports to my office allege he was helping SBF and FTX work on legal loopholes to obtain a regulatory monopoly. We’re looking into this.” The tweet reveals why SBF frequently reached out to regulators.
Clearly, the savior image built by the media is not true. In fact, SBF has never claimed to be a crypto believer. Upon joining the industry, he didn’t really understand what crypto is, and what motivated SBF to venture into crypto is that he believed that the BTC price gap between the U.S. and Japan could allow him to earn arbitrage profits. In an interview with Forbes, when asked if he would leave the industry if he found a better way to make money, say trading orange juice futures, he did not hesitate. “Yeah, I would.”
The ultimate solution for crypto
Judging from the ultimate collapse of FTX, crypto is not the best choice for SBF. Under his leadership, FTX was the judge in a game in which market maker Alameda was a player. Apparently, the former Wall Street genius regarded crypto as a way to hoard wealth through speculation while ignoring the crypto principles of decentralization and transparency.
Crypto advocates equality for all, which is the exact opposite of the tenets of Wall Street. As a long-term believer in crypto assets and blockchain technology, CoinEx has always prioritized technology and product while striving for transparency, ease of use, and reliability. It is also one of the first crypto exchanges that promised to process all withdrawals in time and never misuse users’ assets. Furthermore, always aiming to offer ease of use, CoinEx has worked to eliminate the restraints of conventional finance by providing user-friendly crypto products and services that transcend all language barriers and geographical restrictions. The exchange aims to offer services to more retail users planning to trade crypto worldwide, thereby making crypto trading easier.
As one of the leading CEXs, CoinEx has worked to push for crypto progress, instead of confining itself to its own interests. Mining pools, DEXs, wallets, and public chains are all indispensable parts of the crypto ecosystem. ViaBTC Group, CoinEx’s parent company, provides a wide range of services that span multiple fields, covering the mining pool, decentralized wallet, public chain, and capital investment. In addition, ViaBTC also offers tech and funding support to many DeFi and NFT projects, including DEXs, to meet different user demands, ensure reliable protection for its assets, and facilitate the joint progress of all players in the crypto industry.
FTX’s fall does not represent the failure of crypto. Sure, it is one of the iconic crypto companies built by traditional financial practitioners, but this is not the first time a Wall Street elite failed, and it won’t be the last time either. Obviously, if Wall Street elites still wish to “conquer” crypto, the traditional banking model of fractional reserves and misusing user assets would no longer work.
The FTX incident showed that the crypto community still has a long way to go. Despite that, CoinEx is confident that blockchain and crypto technologies will start a revolution in finance. FTX’s fall also reminded us that the crypto space should be a party of Wall Street elites, and crypto companies can only achieve real success by focusing on the demand of the general public. For CoinEx and many other crypto believers, the best crypto solution is to clear away financial barriers, eliminate the information gap between retail investors and institutional investors, and allow every single person to enjoy accessible, transparent crypto services.