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SEC, CFTC, DOJ Investigating FTX: Reports

As Binance pulls out of an FTX acquisition, Sam Bankman-Fried’s exchanges are facing regulatory scrutiny in the U.S.

2 min read
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Image: Shutterstock

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is deepening its investigations into FTX, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is now investigating the cryptocurrency exchange as well, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal subsequently reported that the U.S. Department of Justice was launching its own probe as well.

Three sources told Bloomberg that the SEC and CFTC’s investigations are related to FTX’s liquidity crunch, which Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has called “significant.” 

The SEC and CFTC are looking into how FTX has managed its customers’ money and are trying to get a clear understanding of FTX and FTX US’s organizational structures, according to the report. Any crossover between the two would be of concern to regulators, as well as any lack of separation between customer accounts.

Two of the sources said the SEC had already been investigating FTX’s lending activities as well as its FTX US arm for months.

But the SEC and the CFTC aren’t the only government agencies looking into FTX. The DOJ probe is reportedly related to possible fraud.

Last month, the Texas Securities Board began investigating FTX, FTX US, and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried over alleged securities violations, according to a filing.

The cryptocurrency market hit a massive speed bump earlier this week when Zhao and Bankman-Fried confirmed that Binance intended to acquire FTX. The news sent the price of FTX’s native token FTT into freefall, plummeting 78% in less than a day.

Since then, Bitcoin has also hit a new two-year low, dropping below the $17,000 mark.

On Wednesday, Zhao published a note previously shared with Binance employees detailing instructions for how Binance would handle conversations surrounding FTX and its issues. 

“FTX going down is not good for anyone in the industry,” Zhao said. “User confidence is severely shaken. Regulators will scrutinize exchanges even more. Licenses around the globe will be harder to get.”

FTX declined to respond to Decrypt’s request for comment. 

When reached for comment, an SEC spokesperson told Decrypt via email that the SEC “does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation.”

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