The Founder and owner of collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), received $2.2 billion in loans and payments from the platform and related entities, mainly Alameda Research, according to the team of administrators in charge of restructuring the company.
$3.2b for SBF and His Inner Circle
Five former executives of the now-defunct FTX and SBF were slated to receive a sum total of $3.2 billion, with the majority sourced from the Alameda hedge fund, a significant contributor to the platform’s collapse.
The breakdown of these payments is as follows:
- Sam Bankman-Fried received approximately $2.2 billion.
- Nishad Singh was given $587 million.
- Zixiao “Gary” Wang received $246 million.
- Ryan Salame received $87 million.
- John Samuel Trabucco received $25 million.
- Caroline Ellison was given $6 million.
However, according to the crypto exchange’s bankruptcy court filings, the transfers made did not account for $240 million that was spent on luxurious property in the Bahamas, political and charitable donations directly made by FTX debtors, and significant transfers to non-debtor units located in the Bahamas and other jurisdictions.
FTX filed for bankruptcy four months ago, citing an inability to repay its obligations to its customers who deposited funds on the exchange. The new CEO, Jon Ray, has emphasized the company’s goal of paying off all liabilities, primarily to its customers.
Meanwhile, SBF, the owner of FTX, is facing accusations of embezzling billions of dollars to cover Alameda Research’s losses and spending tens of millions lobbying politicians in Washington. He maintains his innocence and is awaiting a trial scheduled for 2 October 2023.
The Story Behind FTX’s Fall
FTX was considered one of the more reputable and trusted cryptocurrency exchanges and its Founder, Sam Bankman Fried, was one of the most popular personalities in the digital assets industry. The exchange was founded in 2019, providing trading services with altcoin derivatives contracts that were not available on other popular crypto platforms (at the time, derivatives contracts of well-known cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether were the only ones in demand). FTX has since diversified into other sectors, including spot trading.
FTX experienced remarkable growth within a brief span of time. As a privately owned firm, the exchange is not mandated to disclose its financials. Nevertheless, according to internal documents that CNBC obtained, FTX recorded a revenue of $1.02 billion in the previous year, which was a substantial increase from $89 million in 2020, resulting in a year-over-year growth rate of over 1,000%. Furthermore, the exchange generated $270 million in revenue during Q1 2022, with projected annual revenue of approximately $1.1 billion.
However, in November 2022, FTX started to face difficulties after Binance’s CEO confirmed that the crypto exchange had decided to sell its holdings of FTX’s FTT tokens. This move raised concerns regarding the financial stability of FTX’s competitor. Binance obtained these FTT tokens when it sold its stake in FTX.
Though Zhao did not specify, his decision might have been alarmed by a previous Coindesk report that revealed the balance sheet of Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried’s trading firm. Alameda held $14.6 billion in assets at the end of last June: $3.66 billion of that, the largest asset entry, was held in ‘unlocked FTT’, and another $2.16 billion, the third largest held assets, was in ‘FTT collateral’.
So, what was the problem? FTX creates FTT tokens that serve solely to offer discounts on trading fees on its platform. While there is no proof of any wrongdoing, having such a substantial amount of crypto exchange tokens listed on a balance sheet can trigger concern.
The news triggered a market panic, caused investors’ capital to flee and led to the collapse of a business model that had previously seemed to work flawlessly. The full story of FTX’s origins, development and demise was covered by Finance Magnates here.
In the recent developments regarding FTX, we learned that Alameda Research has filed a lawsuit against crypto asset manager Grayscale. The once-leading crypto exchange, alongside other affiliated debtors, is seeking to “realize over a quarter billion dollars in asset value for FTX Debtors’ customers and creditors.”
In the meantime, Nishad Singh, the former Director of Engineering at the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX and the third of close associates of Samuel Bankman-Fried, pleaded guilty to fraud charges.