Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by volume, has signed a letter of intent to buy its closest competitor, FTX, making huge waves in the crypto community after the putative billionaire CEOs of the exchanges engaged in a multiday public dispute on Twitter.
“It’s like real-life ‘Game of Thrones,’” Alex Taub, founder and CEO of DAO-focused platform Upstream, said to TechCrunch in a message. Today’s acquisition news was bigger than the HBO show’s dramatic Red Wedding massacre scene.
FTX was quick to spin the potential sale of its business as a win. “A *huge* thank you to [Changpeng “CZ” Zhao], Binance, and all of our supporters,” FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said in a tweet on Tuesday regarding the deal. “This is a user-centric development that benefits the entire industry. CZ has done, and will continue to do, an incredible job of building out the global crypto ecosystem and creating a freer economic world.”
But it’s a slam-dunk outcome for Binance after a heated spat. Investors, founders and operators throughout the crypto community noted that the deal makes Binance appear strong amid a bear market for the sector while raising questions about FTX’s solvency and financial performance.
“It’s crypto winter now, and it’s time when the market checks everyone for weakness,” Serhii Zhdanov, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange EXMO, said to TechCrunch. “Exchanges as main players bear the main damage because of low liquidity, while their main income is from trading fees. It’s enough to check the change [in] trading volumes for the last year to understand how tough the situation is.
“Naturally, it’s time of mergers and acquisitions,” Zhdanov said. “We might see more such stories in the near future.”