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Funds disappear at imploding crypto exchange FTX

An advertisement for Bitcoin cryptocurrency is displayed on a street in Hong Kong, on Feb. 17, 2022.  Bitcoin slumped to a two-year low, Wednesday, Nov. 9, and other digital assets sold off following the sudden collapse of crypto exchange FTX Trading, which has been forced to sell itself to larger rival Binance. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
An advertisement for Bitcoin cryptocurrency is displayed on a street in Hong Kong, on Feb. 17, 2022. Bitcoin slumped to a two-year low, Wednesday, Nov. 9, and other digital assets sold off following the sudden collapse of crypto exchange FTX Trading, which has been forced to sell itself to larger rival Binance. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

NEW YORK — Collapsed cryptocurrency trading firm FTX confirms there has been “unauthorized access” to its accounts, hours after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The embattled company’s new CEO John Ray III says FTX is switching off the ability to trade or withdraw funds and taking steps to secure customers’ assets, according to a tweet by FTX’s general counsel Ryne Miller. FTX is also coordinating with law enforcement and regulators, the company said.

Exactly how much money is involved is unclear, but analytics firm Elliptic estimated Saturday that $477 million was missing from the exchange. Another $186 million was moved out of FTX’s accounts, but that may have been FTX moving assets to storage, said Elliptic’s co-founder and chief scientist Tom Robinson.

A debate formed on social media about whether the exchange was hacked or a company insider had stolen funds, a possibility that cryptocurrency analysts couldn’t rule out.

Until recently, FTX was one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. It was already short billions of dollars when it sought bankruptcy protection Friday and its former CEO and founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, resigned.

The company had valued its assets between $10 billion to $50 billion, and listed more than 130 affiliated companies around the world, according to its bankruptcy filing.

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