“You as a customer are like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to be the last person with no money left to give me my money back, so I’m going to try to withdraw,'” Mr. Viraditakit says.
As speculation about suspicious FTX fund transfers circulated on Twitter, crypto industry officials seemed to be putting together the situation in real time. After reports that someone involved in the transfer of funds had an account on Kraken, another crypto exchange, Kraken’s chief security officer, Nick Percoco, chirp“We know the identity of the user.”
Ryan Miller, general counsel for the US arm of FTX, responded quickly. “You are interested in anything you are open to sharing,” he said. “Can you contact me?” A Kraken spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Bankman-Fred’s collapse was a stunning downfall for a CEO who has been compared to finance giants such as John Pierpont Morgan and Warren Buffett. But while bankruptcy upset his empire, a different picture began to emerge.
Investigators with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice are examining whether Mr. Bankman-Fried improperly used client funds to support Alameda Research, a business he also owns. FTX has loaned up to $10 billion in customer money to Alameda, according to a person familiar with the finances.
Months before bankruptcy, cracks appeared. Mr. Bankman-Fried reacted defensively when he made observations that he was increasing his capacity and needed to hire more staff, according to a person close to him. He also said he delayed paying bonuses to employees who were supposed to walk out in the middle of the year, delaying payments for months.
Mr. Bankman Fred reacted indignantly when an employee asked for more of the bonus in cash than stock, that person said, saying that employees who didn’t want a stake in the company should leave.
FTX did not respond to a request for comment.
Erin Griffith and Stephen Gandel contributed reporting.
“Unapologetic reader. Social media maven. Beer lover. Food fanatic. Zombie advocate. Bacon aficionado. Web practitioner.”