See related article: Binance officially backs out of FTX acquisition; latest updates and commentary
Binance founder Changpeng Zhao may have yanked the offer to buy the FTX.com cryptocurrency exchange of rival Sam Bankman-Fried after getting a look at the books, but deal or no deal, Zhao comes out on top, said industry officials.
Zhao, known as CZ in the industry, announced a non-binding agreement to acquire cash-strapped FTX on Wednesday, but pulled the offer on Thursday morning after running due diligence on the exchange and not liking what he found.
Justin D’Anethan, the institutional sales director at Hong Kong-based digital asset platform Amber Group, said CZ’s business is the winner in the whole affair. Binance, already the world’s biggest crypto exchange, will likely see a large inflow of trade with the possible folding of FTX, one of Binance’s largest competitors.
“All of the people who could move out of FTX, and other dodgy exchanges that they don’t feel comfortable with, will go to the bigger players and safer platforms, with Binance definitely emerging as one of those,” he said. “I don’t see the downside.”
Lachlan Feeney, chief executive officer and founder of Australian blockchain development agency Labrys Group Pty, expressed similar views.
“I think Binance is going to benefit from this massively regardless of whether they acquired FTX or not,” said Feeney. “FTX was either going to be owned by Binance, or it was not going to exist at all, so that market share has to be absorbed by someone.”
It would have been better if Binance did acquire FTX from the perspective of the users who had funds caught up in the exchange, he added. “Now we could have a scenario where the users are not bailed out and lose their money, while Binance will still do quite well, soaking up a lot of what was FTX’s market share.”
In Binance’s Thursday tweets, the company also cited “the latest news reports regarding mishandled customer funds and alleged US agency investigations,” as reasons they will not pursue the potential acquisition of FTX.
“It seems now, CZ’s just going to let the whole thing fall, “said D’Anethan. “FTX and (its crypto brokerage arm) Almeda Research are due to implode and send ripples through the crypto market… It’s really bad for the whole space.”
While Binance will suffer from the current market downturn, not to the extent of other market players, said the industry officials. However, one threat for Binance in the scenario, according to D’Anethan, is the exchange becoming a target of antitrust regulators due to its increased market dominance.
See related article: Binance’s pending acquisition of FTX may attract attention of antitrust regulators