ASIC suspends FTX Australia’s licence while 30k Aussies wonder if their crypto’s Bankman Fried
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The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has called time, for now, on the Australian chapter of FTX.
It’s a frankly unsurprising consequence of a completely shocking broader event – the implosion of the global FTX exchange.
This morning, ASIC suspended FTX Australia’s financial services licence until May 15 next year. The way things are going, though, with the majority of Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, it’s looking like FTX is dead in the Bahamian waters.
ASIC has suspended the Australian financial services licence of FTX Australia Pty Ltd until 15 May 2023, after it was placed into voluntary administration on 11 November 2022. https://t.co/LCCf5JW33x
— ASIC Media (@asicmedia) November 15, 2022
The ASIC announcement follows the appointment of voluntary administrators from KordaMentha, to help nearly 30,000 Australians and 132 Australian companies get their funds back from FTX – according to a report in the Australian Financial Review a few days ago.
And those administrators were appointed after FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried failed to attend a board meeting, detailed the AFR. Bankman-Fried is, or was, one of the three directors of FTX Australia.
And the chances of those 30k odd Aussies ever receiving their funds back? Does FTX even have any assets left after the draining of some US$600 million in funds in an alleged hack the other day? Who knows exactly what else they have tied up, but reports suggest there’s certainly a lot of real estate that can be sold, including at least US$74 million in the Bahamas alone.
BREAKING: FTX bought $74 million of real estate in the Bahamas this year – The Block
💥WITH YOUR MONEY! 🤨
— Bitcoin Archive 🗄🚀🌔 (@BTC_Archive) November 13, 2022
Total FTX real estate holdings is rumoured to be closer to US$300 million.
Meanwhile, here’s where SBF says things stand at the moment:
17) I know you've all seen this, but here's where things stand today, roughly speaking. [LOTS OF CAVEATS, ETC.]
And yeah, maybe that $9b illiquid M2M isn't worth $9b (+$1b net).
OTOH–a month ago it was worth $18b; +$10b net.
— SBF (@SBF_FTX) November 16, 2022
But back to ASIC. It has also today removed FTX Australia’s permit to deal in derivatives trading and foreign exchange contracts, as well as providing general financial advice.
The Australian financial regulator clarified the following, however: “Until 19 December 2022, FTX Australia can continue to provide limited financial services that relate to the termination of existing derivatives with clients.”
FTX Australia’s customer-facing operation was established only about eight months ago with a Sydney-based office and a handful of employees.
ASIC noted in its announcement that FTX Australia has the right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to challenge ACIS’s decision.
Cricket fans will have seen FTX branding all over the recent T20 World Cup staged in Australia (removed for the final between England and Pakistan). And that’s because the International Cricket Council was one of dozens of massive sporting bodies and entities that had entered into a partnership with the crypto exchange when it was at its peak.
The value of that deal hasn’t been disclosed but all those FTX partnerships are being dissolved, including a US$135 million deal for 19 years of naming rights on the Miami Heat’s NBA stadium. Game. Over.