The Weekly Pen: FTX'ed, Binance Brawl, FIFA Flirt & Elon Escapades

LIQUIDITY
MONEY
DEFI
CRYPTO
BITCOIN
BLOCKCHAIN
By the Pen

Week45 and J.C (or CZ?) what a week it’s been. From the warmth of summer predicting an upcoming crypto winter to the falls of giants in fall The Pen team is wrapping up another week of drama, turmoil, and sagas kicking off with the most trending news of all, the fall of FTX. Ladies and gentlemen, the winter just got colder.

THE BINANCE AND FTX SAGA

The one trending news which has overshadowed all other news this week has been the Binance and FTX saga. From, SBF being praised as one of the youngest billionaires in the space, to CZ expressing interest in acquiring FTX to it all falling apart another spectacular crypto crash. While everyone is trying to make sense of it all, connect the dots and find the grace in “garbage”, we’ve listed the events (source: Cointelegraph) that followed before and after the fall of FTX, in a story of true “crypto wars” which unfolded quicker than the rise of Elon’s crypto tweets.

It begins with SBF-founded trading firm Alameda Research holding a significant amount of FTX native tokens, which rose concerns across the crypto community, and then:

  • Significant FTT movement occurred, where 17% of FTT tokens were moved to the Binance chain worth $585M, dauntingly close to the Binance hack of $500M.
  • Alameda is put under scrutiny to explain their balance sheet.
  • Binance moves to liquidate FTT holdings due to “recent revelations”.
  • Alameda's CEO then offers to buy Binance’s FTT holdings.
  • The concerns and uncertainties led to a “bank run” on FTX.
  • SBF then states that “assets are fine” and “flirts” with CZ to come together.
  • CZ tweets an accusation over FTX, stating that they’ve learned from their mistakes with Lunar and Terra as well as accusing SBF to lobby against the crypto community instead of working together.
  • FTT price and crypto markets start to waiver.
  • FTX is slammed with a “liquidity crunch” and resorts to selling the exchange to Binance.
  • SBF tweet about “assets being fine” is removed (Elon is probably not happy) and the FTX site goes dark.
  • Binance does an Elon move (who ended up sticking to it) and backs out of the deal to buy FTX.
  • Winter gets colder and crypto markets turn bloodred.
  • SBF reportedly pleads for $ 8 billion in emergency funding from investors. Alarm signals are now red hot.
  • The classic halt to withdrawals from depositors from any faltering exchange is initiated. Unable to process withdrawals.
  • VC world's grand old masters, Sequoia Capital writes off the entire $214M stake in FTX down to…zero.
  • SBF apologizes over the FTX liquidity crisis, stating he “f***** up twice”.
  • Japan’s financial regulators request FTX Japan to halt operations.
  • Blockchain data suggests that FTX may have resumed withdrawals.
  • US House of Reps. Financial Services Committee warns of “major” consequences for users on unregulated crypto
    firms referring to FTX. (editor; Calm down, and don’t forget about Madoff).
  • CZ speaks with the president of El Salvador making sure that the country was not exposed to the whole FTX situation.
  • Claims about Gary Gensler, the SEC chair, was coordinating with FTX to “obtain regulatory monopoly”, shame on you.
  • Tether, circle & coinbase deny exposure to FTX and Alameda.
  • FTX US resigns from the crypto council for innovation.
  • FTX US said it may halt trading on its platform in a few days.
  • FTX assets are frozen by the Bahamian securities regulator.
  • Bahamas-based FTX account withdraws millions of funds for other users using their NFTs.
  • California regulators to investigate FTX crypto exchange collapse.
  • Rumors swirl in the crypto community about a possible arrest of FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
  • Alameda employees jump ship and resign “this all smells too musky, thanks but no thanks”.
  • FTX's institutional head resigned, the day after the exchange’s fallout.
  • FTX liabilities worth north of $ 8 billion surface. Explains the “emergency funding” SBF was requesting from investors.
  • FTX, FTX US, and Alameda file for Chapter 11 in the US, followed by SBF resigning (probably a good idea).
  • FTX US suspends withdrawals and FTX ventures head resigns.
  • FTX gets hacked for all its funds (both FTX US and FTX international), and FTX users are reporting their wallet balances show up as $0.
  • FTX apps are hacked (friendly note: if you still have any, delete them asap!).
  • FTX site got hacked.

Phew! Where does this leave Binance and the future of this space? Keep reading, there might be some “clues to your concerns” in the other events that occurred in week 45.

U.S. DEPARTMENT “MONEYGRABBING” BITCOIN

The U.S. department of justice revealed it seized $3.36Bn worth of bitcoin last year, which was stolen from an infamous darknet website. The stash of 50,676 Bitcoin was found hidden on various devices in a hacker’s home in an underfloor safe and inside a popcorn tin (savage). However one would view this intervention from the justice department, it goes to show that the “centralized” world cares just a little bit about the world of crypto & DeFi. This is the 2nd largest seizure of cryptocurrency, following the $3.6Bn in stolen crypto linked to the 2016 hack of Bitfinex. Will we see seizures from the likes of Celcius and FTX?

IN BEIRUT WITH BITCOIN

While El Salvador struggled to revamp the country’s economy with a “bitcoin revolution” monetary policy, Lebanon used hedged the rising inflation and costs of living by mining bitcoin. Lebanon, once known for its stable and investment-friendly banking system, the country plunged into chaos as hyperinflation gripped the country and banks forced huge cuts on dollar withdrawals. This has led citizens of the country the leverage their costs from the power of DeFi, stablecoins, payments in crypto, and offering freelance services to bitcoin miners who then pay them in the same cryptocurrency. Once again, failed centralized systems are being recovered from the power of “DeCent” systems, mirroring the events from "occupy wall-street" and the 08’ financial turmoil.

BINANCE AND THE PERSIAN AFFAIR

A country (The Islamic Republic of Iran), with a history of misfortunes and heartbreaking suppression, circumvented the US sanctions after their intention to cut them off from the global financial system in 2018. Nobitex, Iran’s biggest crypto exchange conducted trades worth $7.8Bn processed through Binance. Oddly (or conveniently enough) 3 quarters of the Iranian funds which passed through Binance were executed using Tron. A somewhat low-key cryptocurrency that gives users the option to conceal their identities. Nobitex themselves had encouraged clients to use Tron to trade anonymously without putting their assets at risk due to sanctions. What repercussions that may have for the dominating giant (editor; Binance) with U.S. Justice Department viewing it as money laundering, is currently unknown.

FIFA X METAVERSE

On a bit softer note, FIFA launched metaverse games ahead of the world cup in Qatar. Teaming up with Uplandme, Matchday, Phygtl, and Altered State Machine to launch four metaverse games ahead of World Cup in Qatar. Combining Web3 and NFT, FIFA is now the latest federation in a group of organizations converting their activities to the Metaverse. Meanwhile, FIFA has further flirted with more blockchain-based engagements in the future. Back in May, the federation sealed a partnership with PoS blockchain protocol Algorand. This established them as the official blockchain partner for FIFA.

ELON MUSK “TWEETS” AGAIN

Okay, The Pen team did previously state that “we’re done” talking about Elon Musk, but it seems like this guy is going to be a key member in the future of crypto, DeFi, and the future of finance. Prior to Elon’s business adventures from making electrical cars mainstream, to space exploration and simultaneously providing solar power and internet to the world he was a member of the infamously known “PayPal” mafia. A group of co-founders of one of the most successful payment solutions, which further spurred entrepreneurial rockstars, but also laid the foundation of what could’ve been a decentralized payment system. Musk, taking over social media giant Twitter and introducing a subscription-based model laid out his vision for a twitter payment system. A social media giant linked to a decentralized free-speech platform, a platform for pumping “value” into new altcoins (editor; Shiba Inu and dogecoin), can now become a platform where users would be able to spend money to others on the platform, extract their funds to authenticated bank accounts and also be offered a high-yield money market account and further move their cash to Twitter (source: TechCrunch). It seems that Elon likes to engage in mass infrastructures, and with the vision of Twitter payments, might be a long shot hoping to make it a moon shot, but so was going to Mars.

TILL WE YIELD AGAIN

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