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Inside the Frantic Texts Exchanged by Crypto Executives as FTX Collapsed

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The day before the embattled cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy, Changpeng Zhao, the chief executive of the rival exchange Binance, sent an alarmed text to Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX’s founder.Mr. Zhao was concerned that Mr. Bankman-Fried was orchestrating crypto trades that could send the industry into a meltdown. “Stop now, don’t cause more damage,” Mr. Zhao wrote in a group chat with Mr. Bankman-Fried and other crypto executives on Nov. 10. “The more damage you do now, the more jail time.”FTX and its sister hedge fund, Alameda Research, had just collapsed after a run on deposits exposed an $8 billion hole in the exchange’s accounts. The implosion unleashed a crypto crisis, as firms with ties to FTX teetered on the brink of bankruptcy, calling the future of the entire industry into question.The series of about a dozen group texts between Mr. Zhao and Mr. Bankman-Fried on Nov. 10, which were obtained by The New York Times, show that key crypto leaders feared that the situation could get even worse. Their frantic communications offer a glimpse into how business is conducted behind the scenes in the industry, with at least three top officials from rival companies exchanging messages in a group on the encrypted messaging app Signal.The t …

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