Fear of FTX-Spurred Crypto Crash Is Overblown, Analysts Say

Crypto markets slumped Monday amid concern FTX will unload some of its $3.4 billion of crypto assets.

AccessTimeIconSep 12, 2023 at 9:25 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 12, 2023 at 9:34 p.m. UTC

Crypto investors started the week jittery about an imminent market crash due to FTX shedding its $3.4 billion cryptocurrency holdings, but analysts say those concerns are likely overblown.

“The actual selling pressure could be much smaller than initially anticipated,” said David Lawant, head of research at FalconX.

Digital asset markets declined sharply Monday as traders feared that bankrupt crypto exchange FTX could start selling its crypto stash, which includes $1.16 billion of Solana's SOL and $560 million of bitcoin (BTC). BTC dipped below $25,000 to its lowest price since June, while SOL plunged as much as 8%.

FTX may receive approval for selling assets in its next bankruptcy court hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Lawant pointed out that part of FTX’s crypto stash is venture investment with lockups that prevent selling the assets, and that there would also be limitations to the asset sales, cushioning the market impact.

“It is likely that the reaction toward the potential FTX sales was overrated and the market calms down from here,” Lawant said.

Jeff Dorman, chief investment officer at digital asset investment firm Arca, said that market participants initially overreacted to the potential impact of the sales.

“The way crypto market makers and traders are front-running the FTX supply shows a complete misunderstanding of how a syndicated sale process works,” said Dorman. “This isn’t an every-man-for-himself VC unlock. This is a court-ordered process that Galaxy will sell very slowly and opportunistically,” he added.

The market has rebounded since the initial scare, with BTC returning to $26,000, or roughly the level it was at prior to the Monday sell-off.

More crypto selling pressure on the horizon

While the market impact of any FTX crypto sales might be weaker than expected, there are other events looming that could add to the downward pressure on prices.

“The market also expects further sell-side pressure from Mt. Gox’s trustees and U.S. Silk Road Bitcoins,” Vetle Lune, senior analyst of crypto analytics firm K33 Research, noted in a report.

U.S. authorities are gradually selling off chunks of 50,000 BTC seized last November related to crypto marketplace Silk Road. Victims of the Mt. Gox hack, where some 850,000 bitcoins were stolen years ago but only a fraction have been recovered, might be able to reclaim their assets later this year.

“The schedule and structure of these potential sell-side flows are unknown but have all been decisive forces in hammering an already pressured sentiment,” he wrote.

Apecoin (APE) and Axie Infinity’s AXS token also face sizable token unlocks in the next weeks, allowing early venture capital investors to sell, crypto service provider Matrixport reported.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


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Krisztian  Sandor

Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the U.S. markets team focusing on stablecoins and institutional investment. He holds BTC and ETH.

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