Not Your Keys Not Your Coins
A Brief History of Failed Crypto Exchanges from Mt. Gox to FTX
In February of 2010 a cryptocurrency exchange portal called bitcoinmarket.com was created. Only Bitcoins could be bought and sold from person to person using Paypal. Bitcoinmarket.com is now a defunct platform. When it was launched in March of that year, a single bitcoin was priced at around $0.003 — that was 333 BTC for a dollar.
The second true successor to Bitcoin Market was Mt. Gox, launched in July 2011 and by 2014 it was handling 70% of all global bitcoin trades. Jed McCaleb was the creator of this exchange, but sold Mt. Gox on March 6, 2011 to Mark Karpeles. It became one of the most important platforms until its controversial, dark and strange ending and the disappearance of all the user’s Bitcoins on June 19, 2011. Hundreds of thousands of Bitcoins and fiat were in fact stolen from the users of the exchange.
Keep your cryptocurrency off the exchanges. Buy your hardware wallet from their official website — not Amazon
There are thousands of exchanges out there across the world. Many other exchanges since Mt. Gox then have gone bankrupt, or closed abruptly and thereby “losing”, “stealing”, or getting “hacked” and losing user funds. Some of the little known ones are Bitomat, MyBitcoin, and TradeHill.
The largest crypto exchange fraud in Canada was Quadriga Fintech (Netflix has a documentary). Launched in November 2013, the now speculatively deceased Gerald Cotten “lost” up to C$250 million (US$190 million) in cryptocurrency owed to 115,000 customers. His mysterious and convenient death in India in 2018 brought an abrupt end to the 2017 Bitcoin trading frenzy on the exchange. Bitcoin came crashing down in 2018 and users could not sell. Quadriga cryptocurrency could not be accessed because only Cotten held the password to off-line cold wallets. As of November 2022 Canadians are still waiting to see if the government can recover some of their funds.
Now on to the FTX cryptocurrency exchange scam. Sam Bankman-Fried, aka SBF, launched FTX in 2019 and grew it into one of the leading exchanges for buying and selling crypto derivatives. In early 2022, investors valued FTX and its U.S. operations at a combined $40 billion. Most of his wealth, which peaked at an estimated $26.5 billion, was tied up in ownership of about half of FTX and shares of its FTT tokens (created from thin air). Sam Bankman-Fried who was once compared to financial wizards like John Pierpont Morgan and Warren Buffett, let FTX collapse on November 8th 2022 after a run on deposits left his crypto exchange with an $8 billion shortfall, forcing the firm to file for bankruptcy.
We are left to believe media reports that FTX was in the control of “inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals”, but yet somehow gained the trust of retail investors, investment bankers, celebrities, politicians, and the head of the SEC Gary Gensler. Bankman-Fried and his group of cohorts also had the presence of mind to take up residence in the Bahamas while running FTX, and buy $300 million worth of real estate.
The failed cryptocurrency platform’s 50 biggest customers are owed nearly $3.1bn after its sudden collapse, according to court documents, and hundreds of thousands of retail investors have lost all their crypto coins, and probably won’t see any of it back again. Especially after a substantial amount of assets have either been reported “stolen” or are “missing” after filing for bankruptcy in a convenient cyberattack, as stated by Bankman-Fried. A lawsuit has recently been filed against Bankman-Fried, the company and the celebrities, including Larry David, Naomi Osaka, Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady, who promoted it.
In the days since FTX filed for bankruptcy, entities ranging from Blockfi, Celsius, Voyager to Genesis to Gemini have been hit by the fallout. Some have declared themselves insolvent. Why? Because they blindly invested in FTX heavily, and/or bought massive amounts of the FTT token (which is now worthless). Consequently, Bitcoin’s price took a tumble and brought down Ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies.
In the future, these exchange failures and coin failures will hardly be remembered by the majority of people who will be newly investing in cryptocurrencies. After the next Bitcoin halvening due in 2024, cryptomania will be all the rage again. But crypto investors who have been there from almost the beginning have learned many hard lessons that they‘re not likely to repeat. As summed up in the saying “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.
– – -After the next Bitcoin halving due in 2024, cryptomania will be all the rage again – – -
In conclusion, the lessons learned from these narcissistic sociopaths who ran these particular exchanges for their own gain are: DYOR (do your own research) on crypto Ponzi schemes, high yield schemes, automatic trades, leveraging, DRIP schemes, bot investments, coin ownership/manipulation, and the irrational touting of individuals who barely know what the blockchain is and how it works. Most importantly, buy a hardware wallet (and learn how to use it by watching a Youtube video) so that you won’t be left holding an empty bag when another exchange comes crashing down. If you don’t hold the keys to the crypto that you bought, then you don’t own your coins — #notyourkeysnotyourcoins.