Need an expert? Collapse of FTX

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Assistant Professor of Marketing, Telfer School of Management

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"The FTX debacle shows us again how centralized exchanges are antithetical to the entire idea of the Bitcoin movement. "Not your keys, not your coins" has been said many times before but people still tend to look for centralized entities when the whole idea that spurned this blockchain-ecosystem was the idea of self-custody and personal responsibility. It was to do away with intermediaries but instead people flock to centralized entities because it's easier. 

"We've seen this before with the collapse of Mt. Gox in 2014. As they say, history does not repeat itself but it often rhymes. If we look historically, there are also symmetries happening btw FTX and Mt. Gox's collapse. For example, back then people rushed to Tokyo and hounded Mark Karpeles for their lost Bitcoins. A similar move is happening where multiple content creators in the crypto ecosystem have flown down to the Bahamas and are staking out the Albany neighborhood where Sam Bankman Fried apparently owns a penthouse. The only difference was that back then the ecosystem wasn't as large. All of these bull and bear cycles hadn't happened in 2014. There weren't as many altcoins percolating away in different markets and trading of crypto wasn't as widespread. This is why this collapse hurts more because so many innocent people lost their savings as a result of a centralized exchange asking for trust. 

"We also have to distinguish buzzwords here, a lot of times companies in the blockchain space use the term "decentralization" or "blockchain" without actually being decentralized or even needing a "blockchain". And for Bitcoiners, there is a push to recognize that Bitcoin is separate from what happens in "crypto" but unfortunately it tends to get covered under the same umbrella term."

 

Associate Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law Section. Research Chair in Technology and Society. Director, University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society.

[email protected]

Professor Martin-Bariteau serves as the Director of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society (CLTS) and leads the uOttawa Blockchain Legal Lab. He is one of Canada’s leading experts in the legal aspects of blockchain.

He can comment on the history of the case, regulatory issues and developments, Canadian investments, and the need for monitoring.