The crypto industry is known for dramatic twists, roller-coaster prices and fortunes that appear and disappear overnight. But even by crypto standards, what happened this week was bonkers. To non-crypto watchers, the news — the collapse of FTX, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world — might sound boring or esoteric, the kind of story you’d happily scroll past on your way to reading about Elon Musk’s latest Twitter tempest. But within the crypto world, it is already being referred to as the industry’s “Lehman moment” — a reference to the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, which set off a global financial panic and made it clear to laypeople just how much trouble Wall Street was in. Indeed, FTX’s fall — including a failed attempt to sell itself to the rival crypto exchange Binance — may turn out to be the most gripping crypto narrative of the year, a “Succession”-level drama involving feuding billionaires, rumors of sabotage and high-stakes battles over the future of the industry. It’s a stunning, sudden fall from grace for one of the crypto world’s biggest celebrities. And it signals that the industry, already reeling from a brutal year of losses, may be in for even tougher times.
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