The potential collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.com is likely to have ripple effects through the world of traditional finance and hit celebrity investors including Tom Brady, according to news reports.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, which was valued at $32.5 billion early this year, is now facing a liquidity crunch and a probe by U.S. regulators. The Department of Justice is looking into how the exchange handled customer funds and its relationships with other firms controlled by its founder, including trading house Alameda Research, Bloomberg writes.
Given the “interplay” between FTX, Alameda and other entities in the crypto space, JPMorgan analysts expect a “cascade of margin calls,” according to the news service.
“What makes this new phase of crypto deleveraging induced by the apparent collapse of Alameda Research and FTX more problematic is that the number of entities with stronger balance sheets able to rescue those with low capital and high leverage is shrinking” in the crypto sector, a team of JPMorgan Chase strategists led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote in a note Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.
Bitcoin could drop to $13,000, the bank’s analysts projected. The currency fell about 16% Wednesday, but in early trading in London today recovered about 6%, putting the price at about $16,690, Bloomberg reports.
Bankman-Fried has already told FTX investors that without a cash injection the exchange would need to file for bankruptcy, the news service writes, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
On Tuesday, Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao took to Twitter to disclose that his firm was exploring a takeover of FTX, according to Bloomberg.
On Wednesday, however, Binance said it was backing out, CNBC reported.
“In the beginning, our hope was to be able to support FTX’s customers to provide liquidity,” Binance said in a tweet on Wednesday, according to the news network. “But the issues are beyond our control or ability to help.” The collapse of FTX would affect several major hedge funds and investors who participated in funding rounds for FTX, including Tiger Global Management, Third Point and Altimeter Capital Management, as well as angel investors Brevan Howard Asset Management’s Alan Howard, the family office of Paul Tudor Jones, Millennium Management founder Izzy Englander, and celebrities including Brady and Gisele Bundchen, Bloomberg writes.
The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Iconiq Capital, Insight Partners, Thoma Bravo and Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group Corp. have also invested in FTX and stand to lose everything, according to the news service.
Representatives for all of the firms and individuals either declined to comment or didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment, the news service writes.
BlackRock is another investor in FTX, according to MarketWatch, which says that a spokesperson for the firm declined comment.