A Citi analyst has warned of a serious risk of broader contagion to the crypto ecosystem stemming from the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, noting that the contagion “can last for a significant amount of time.” He added that the crypto industry seems to have “no significant lender of last resort.”
Citi’s Analyst Warns of Broader Contagion to Crypto Ecosystem
Citi analyst Joseph Ayoub explained in an interview with CNBC Friday that the overall cryptocurrency market faces risks of contagion from the implosion of FTX. The troubled crypto exchange filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday. The Citi analyst cautioned:
I think there’s a serious risk of broader contagion to the ecosystem itself.
However, he added: “It’s unlikely that contagion spreads toward broader financial markets, and that’s mainly because of the size of the crypto space, which is only around $830 billion in comparison to the $43 trillion U.S. equity market.”
Ayoub further predicted that companies in the crypto sector will face renewed skepticism and trust issues, but noted that it also means other firms can move to capture more market share now that one of the biggest players has gone under.
“Within cryptocurrencies, it’s unclear as to how far and how deep this goes,” the analyst said, elaborating:
Contagion can last for a significant amount of time, and with the amount of companies that are involved and the amount of investments involved with FTX, and following Chapter 11, it could take a long time for this to resolve.
Unlike Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the Citi analyst believes that the FTX crash differs from the 2008 financial crisis when the government stepped in with a massive cash injection and bailed out Wall Street. He opined:
Coingecko.com’s website notes that the “FTX token Contract Deployer has transferred out the entirety of supposedly locked FTT tokens into circulation.” In a now-deleted tweet, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) tweeted that Binance has halted FTT deposits. CZ said:
It almost seems ironic now that we were previously thinking that Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX were providing some sort of lender of last resort optionality … and now it seems there is no significant lender of last resort.
JPMorgan Chase’s analysts similarly said last week that fewer players in the crypto space are now able to rescue weaker players. “The number of entities with stronger balance sheets able to rescue those with low capital and high leverage is shrinking,” they wrote, predicting that the price of bitcoin could drop to $13K.
Prior to FTX’s bankruptcy filing, Binance was considering acquiring the rival crypto exchange. However, after conducting due diligence, the company decided to walk away from the deal, citing “reports regarding mishandled customer funds and alleged U.S. agency investigations.”