Chaos at FTX Rises! India’s Nishad Singh Among Top Executives Under Scrutiny
FTX collapsed, now an Indian-origin executive is suspected to be responsible for its fall
Beleaguered cryptocurrency exchange FTX declared bankruptcy after a bailout from larger rival Binance fell through and other rescue funding appeared unlikely. It was facing a US$8 billion cash shortfall. CEO Sam Bankman-Fried resigned and is now being investigated for his role in a multi-billion dollar scandal that may have led to the spectral collapse of one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platforms.
The fracas at FTX began when the crypto news website CoinDesk published a leaked balance sheet that revealed Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried’s crypto trading firm, was heavily reliant on FTX native token, FTT. Bankman-Fried transferred US$10 billion in customer funds to Alameda. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stated that his company would liquidate its FTT holdings due to “recent revelations.” Later, it was revealed that Binance had planned to bail out FTX but had decided against proceeding with the transaction. The cash-strapped cryptocurrency exchange declared bankruptcy after failing to secure funds. FTX said that it has detected unauthorized transactions in which hundreds of millions of dollars of assets were moved from the platform in “suspicious circumstances.”
FTX did not reveal how much it lost in unauthorized transactions but reports claimed the amount could be as high as US$600 million. Sources, however, pegged the amount at US$1 billion. FTX US general counsel Ryne Miller said in a Twitter post that the firm’s digital assets were being moved into so-called cold storage “to mitigate damage upon observing the unauthorized transactions.”
Indian-origin executive under scanner
During the probe, the name of Indian-origin Nishad Singh, who worked as the director of engineering at FTX, also came up. Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison admitted that top company executives were aware of Bankman-Fried’s decision to move customer funds to Alameda. Nishad Singh, who was part of the inner circle of executives running FTX, was one of these individuals. Ellison told employees in a video meeting that she, Bankman-fried, and two other executives- Nishad Singh and Gary Wang- were aware of the decision to move customer funds to Alameda, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Nishad Singh profiled on Linkedin took over as director of engineering at FTX in April 2019. He held the same post at Alameda Research. Singh Previously worked at Facebook and Berkeley Consulting. He did his BSc from the University of California, Berkeley. The whole operation of FTX was managed by a “gang of kids in the Bahamas”. Reports say that Singh was part of a group of at least nine people who lived together in a luxury penthouse owned by the firm. Coindesk has reported that all of them are or used to be in a relationship with each other. “Gary, Nishad, and Sam control the code, the exchange’s matching engine, and funds,” a person familiar with the matter claimed, adding that no one would notice if they moved them around or input their own numbers.