The digital assets market has been rocked by the near-collapse of one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, FTX. On Tuesday, FTX struck a bailout deal with larger rival Binance after a surge in withdrawals caused a “significant liquidity crunch”. Concerns about FTX’s financial health reportedly triggered $6bn (£5.2bn) of withdrawals in just three days. Binance says it agreed to buy FTX’s non-US unit, pending due diligence. FTX’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried and Binance’s chief executive Changpeng “CZ” Zhao are two of the most powerful people in the cryptocurrency market and high-profile rivals. The pressure on FTX came in part from Mr Zhao, who tweeted on Sunday that Binance would sell its holdings of FTX’s digital token, known as FTT. “Due to recent revelations that have came to light, we have decided to liquidate any remaining FTT on our books,” he said. FTT has lost almost 80% of its value this week. On Tuesday Mr Zhao tweeted, “This afternoon, FTX asked for our help. There is a significant liquidity crunch”. Binance said it had signed a letter of intent to buy the firm but had “the discretion to pull out from the deal at any time”. Also on Twitter Mr Bankman-Fried said: “Our teams are working on clearing out the withdraw backlog as is. This will clear out liquidity; all assets will be covered 1:1.”
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