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FTX deposits: When can customers start withdrawing funds from SBF’s stricken crypto exchange?

By Raphael Sanis and Peter Henn

Edited by Charlie Mellor


Updated

A smartphone in a shopping cart displays the FTX name and logo in front of a price chart
FTX has stopped crypto withdrawals as it focuses on clearing the backlog – Photo: Shutterstock

Withdrawals from the FTX cryptocurrency exchange have been put on hold following a liquidity crisis.

New CEO and former Enron bankruptcy lawyer John Ray tweeted, via FTX lawyer Ryne Miller, that the company is in the process of removing trading and withdrawal functionality “and moving as many digital assets as can be identified to a new cold wallet custodian”.

He added: “Consistent with their obligations as Chapter 11 Debtors-in-Possession, FTX.US and FTX.com continue to make every effort to secure all assets, wherever located.”

Although there are no official figures as to how much creditors are owed, there are at least 100,000 and could be around one million people with money tied up in the exchange and its subsidairies, according to papers filed on 11 November, when the company applied for bankruptcy and its CEO, disgraced former billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, resigned. 

Fearful consumers have been cashing out of the exchange, a move that is partly responsible for FTX’s liquidity crisis – on 6 November, it saw $5bn worth of withdrawals.

On 11 November alone, more than $600m worth of funds were withdrawn by customers, according to analytics platform Nansen.

 

FTT to USD

Withdrawal backlog 

FTX halted all its cryptocurrency withdrawals on 8 November 2022 after it ran into liquidity trouble.

This sparked concerns from FTX investors in the exchange’s official Telegram group, and some users revealed they had been waiting more than 24 hours for their withdrawals to be completed.

An admin of the official FTX Telegram group revealed that withdrawals had been halted and they would “start ramping up as soon as everything is ready on our end”.

The admin also said that those transactions currently processing are “part of the halt”. However, completed transactions should take the “regular 2-5 business days schedule”.

XRP/USD

0.50 Price
+1.470% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.01168

DOGE/USD

0.15 Price
+2.030% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.0012872

BCH/USD

489.45 Price
+5.240% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 2.50

BTC/USD

63,070.90 Price
+3.250% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 106.00

On 10 November 2022, the crypto analytics platform Arkham Intelligence discovered that FTX was beginning to process withdrawals “in a limited capacity”.

Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried said withdrawals from FTX.US, a separate company from the main exchange, would not be affected by the crisis.

The subsidiary has now filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, though its official Twitter account said on Friday (11 November) that while withdrawals of ETH and the ERC-20 version of MATIC from FTX.US had paused, they would resume soon. However, as of 16 November there were no further updates. 

Binance’s U-turn

The collapse of the FTX token (FTT) – the native token of the FTX ecosystem – coupled with a surge in customer withdrawals initially fuelled the liquidity crisis for FTX. The exchange initially agreed on a rescue deal with Binance, which was later withdrawn.

On 8 November, when the Binance deal was announced, Bankman-Fried said that FTX was capable of covering all assets. He tweeted: “This is one of the main reasons we’ve asked Binance to come in... the important thing is that customers are protected.”

But the cancellation of this deal on 9 November threw FTX off course. In a Twitter thread on 10 November, Bankman-Fried said he would spend the week doing “everything we can to raise liquidity”.

He also said that funds were not a problem, as FTX had more in assets and collateral than held as customer deposits.

The following day, 11 November, Bankman-Fried announced that he was stepping down from his position at the exchange, and that the whole FTX group, including its US branch, was filing for bankruptcy.

In the press statement, FTX said it would begin “an orderly process to review and monetise assets for the benefit of all global shareholders”. But it did not reveal a timeline for these events, as the “new team is engaged only recently”.

Meanwhile, on 15 November, Bankman-Fried tweeted to say that he wanted to “do right” by the exchange’s customers, and that he was trying to get raise some funds to contribute liquidity for the exchange in order to do so.

He wrote: “Maybe I’ll fail. Maybe I won’t get anything more for customers than what’s already there. I’ve certainly failed before. You all know that now, all too well. But all I can do is to try. I’ve failed enough for the month. And part of me thinks I might get somewhere.”

Markets in this article

ETH/USD
Ethereum / USD
3066.25 USD
86.23 +2.900%
MATIC/USD
MATIC/USD
0.70645 USD
0.01696 +2.540%

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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