The collapse of the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX has put the Singapore prime minister and the ruling government in a hot seat. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong are set to face grilling questions for their failure to protect retail investors.
The Members of Parliament (MP) from the opposition Workers’ party raised 15 questions about Temasek’s investment and FTX collapse. The MPs questioned the government’s credibility in tracking the extent of investments by Temasek and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC.
The discussions around the government policies while investing in digital assets will be scrutinized further in a parliamentary discussion on Nov. 28, reported a Singaporean daily. The opposition MPs have recommended a bipartisan committee to question Temasek on its investment strategies and risk management approaches.
Singaporean state-backed investor Temasek was one of 69 investors to invest in the FTX crypto exchange’s $420 million funding round in October 2021. The firm had invested $210 million in the global exchange for a minority stake of 1% and another $65 million in its sister company FTX.US. However, the state-backed investor wrote down its entire $275 million investment in the crypto exchange “irrespective of the outcome of FTX’s bankruptcy protection filing.”
Temasek also revealed that despite eight months of due diligence in 2021, it didn’t find any significant red flags in FTXs financials before deciding to invest $275 million into the now-failed cryptocurrency exchange. Apart from Temasek, Sequoia Capital also marked down its entire $214 million investment in the crypto exchange.
The impact of the FTX collapse has been far-reaching and the worst hit has been millions of retail investors whose funds were misappropriated and used by the crypto exchange to mitigate its own risk. The collapse has also led to wider regulatory discussion and demand for better regulatory oversight of these centralized entities.
The Bahamas Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs Ryan Pinder has confirmed that the collapsed crypto exchange FTX is the focus of an "active and ongoing" investigation by authorities from the Caribbean nation.
In a national statement that was delivered live on the Facebook page of the Office of the Prime Minister on Nov. 27, Pinder explained the "affairs of FTX Digital Markets" are under scrutiny from both "civil and criminal authorities" and Bahamian authorities are working with "a number of specialists and experts and will continue to do so as the need arises."
"The Securities Commission, our financial intelligence unit, and the financial crimes unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force will continue to investigate the facts and circumstances regarding FTX's insolvency crisis and any potential violations of Bahamian law," he added.
Pinder also revealed the relevant Bahamian authorities would try to hold to account any companies or individuals found to have committed any wrongdoing during the investigation, while they will cooperate with other regulatory agencies and law enforcement bodies around the world.
"These events remind us of the lessons learned from securities and other financial regulation about the need for strong cross-border cooperation. The public worldwide will be best served by a strong international regulatory cooperation," he said.
The Securities Commission of The Bahamas suspended FTX Digital Markets (FDM) license to conduct business and stripped its directors of their power on Nov. 10.
On Nov. 12 they ordered the transfer of all FDM digital assets to a digital wallet owned by the commission for "safekeeping."
Pinder mentioned the country's regulatory authority has taken further protective measures approved by the Supreme Court but declined to elaborate further until "we are confident that doing so will not jeopardize any aspect of the ongoing investigations."
Pinder also took the chance to slam the Nov. 17 emergency motion by FTX Trading Limited, which called out the "Bahamian government" for "directing unauthorized access to the Debtors' systems" after the commencement of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in the United States.
He called the allegations "extremely regrettable" for misrepresenting "the timely action taken by the Securities Commission," while also defending all the steps taken by the country's regulator so far.
The Bahamas has encouraged crypto companies to the island country to aid its economy but it’s since been shaken by FTX’s collapse.
It was also hard hit by 2019’s Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic starting in 2020 ground its heavily tourism-based economy to a halt. With FTX gone, so have many jobs in the small nation.
But Pinder outlined his belief that despite the "personal tragedies" associated with the collapse of FTX, he expects "little contagion beyond the digital asset sphere both here in the Bahamas and around the world."
He referenced a Nov. 22 Standard & Poor's ratings for The Bahamas which forecast a stable outlook, citing the tourism sector's performance.
"Standards and poor has projected a stable outlook for our economy resting in part on the assumption that there will be no material adverse impact on the Bahamas from the worldwide collapse of FTX," Pinder said.
The fall of FTX seemingly had the biggest impact on the crypto ecosystem as Google searches for the CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) hit the roof over in November 2022. Some of the biggest drivers for this trend include mainstream media attention, colossal losses and political ties.
On Nov. 2, SBF lost his credibility after his company Alameda Research was found holding a large amount of FTX Token, an asset issued by FTX. Over the following two weeks, the crypto community investigated and found SBF guilty of manipulating and misappropriating users’ funds, ultimately leading to the fall of the empire of roughly 130 companies built by SBF.
On the one hand, the crypto community openly criticized SBF and his accomplices, including Caroline Ellison. But, on the other hand, mainstream media published puff pieces to water down SBF’s wrongdoings, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, among others, called out.
The blatant attempts by the mainstream media to change the narrative around SBF saw massive resistance from Crypto Twitter, further fueling the curiosity and forcing the general public to do their own research (DYOR) about the subject.
As a result, Google searches for the term “Sam Bankman-Fried” surged in November. The curiosity around SBF overpowered the other infamous personalities in the space, including co-founder and CEO of Terraform Labs Do Kwon, co-founder and CEO of Three Arrows Capital Su Zhu and Satoshi Nakamoto impersonator Craig Wright.
Google Trends data shows that searches for SBF are 185.7% more than they were for Do Kwon when Terra collapsed in May 2022. The collapse of Terra was considered the biggest blunder in crypto history until SBF took the spot six months later.
The FTX dust is far from settling as Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board, MASAK, seized SBF’s assets amid ongoing investigations.
The seizure was made after finding “criminal suspicion” of FTX failing to safely store user funds, embezzlement of customer assets and market manipulation.
This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.