The fall of the giant FTX is causing a real domino effect in the world of cryptocurrencies. Several platforms have had to suspend certain withdrawals in recent days, victims of the bankruptcy of their competitor, the world’s number two cryptocurrency exchange, whose ramifications continue to spread.

The latest, Thursday, November 16, the French Coinhouse, which confirmed to Agence France-Presse (AFP) to have blocked exits on its crypto booklet, presented as a cryptocurrency savings product. In a series of tweets, the platform explained that some partner sites to which it had loaned funds had themselves halted withdrawals for their customers.

Among Coinhouse’s partners was Genesis. The latter had entrusted cryptocurrencies to Alameda, a sort of speculative arm of FTX, pushed into bankruptcy last Friday. Coinhouse referred to “overall tensions in the crypto market and pressure on liquidity”.

A “difficult” sequence for the industry

Same story on the side of Gemini, the platform of the Winklevoss brothers, popularized by the genesis of Facebook and the film The Social Network. The group, also trapped by the default of Genesis, had to freeze its Gemini Earn program which also allows it to place its cryptocurrencies, then loaned to others against remuneration. “The past week has marked an incredibly difficult and stressful streak for our industry,” Gemini wrote on Twitter. According to the CoinDesk site, before turning off the tap, Gemini had recorded in just twenty-four hours nearly 600 million dollars in withdrawals against less than 100 million deposits, a serious imbalance due to the nervousness of users who fear contagion.

BlockFi, another major player, froze its entire platform, which at the end of June managed around 3.9 billion dollars spread over more than 650,000 accounts. “We have significant exposure to FTX,” acknowledged BlockFi, which several US media outlets have indicated is considering filing for bankruptcy.

realize the contagion

“It’s very worrying, because we haven’t seen the scale of the contagion yet,” comments Francesco Melpignano, managing director of Kadena Eco, which specializes in blockchain (a ledger that lists all transactions on a platform). form). For him, the FTX earthquake and its aftershocks exceed in magnitude the one created in the spring by the implosion of the digital currency Terra, which had dragged several exchanges, notably Celsius, to the bottom. He even compares the bankruptcy of FTX to that of Lehman Brothers, which had sown panic on the markets and dragged down several banks in its fall.

In a video interview with the Wall Street Journal, the financial director of Coinbase, one of the giants of the sector, estimated that the entire crypto system was not in danger. “But it will take several days or several weeks to realize the contagion caused by this event and to understand who was exposed”, explained Alesia Haas.

If the anxiety persists in the world of cryptocurrencies, the past week will have, on the other hand, demonstrated how the traditional financial markets were hermetic to the tribulations of digital currencies.