FTX’s Collapse Leaves Employees Sick With Anger
The implosion of FTX was financially ruinous for some employees. Outside the U.S., many staff were paid via direct deposit to their accounts on the cryptocurrency exchange, so when FTX froze customer withdrawals last week, these employees couldn’t access their funds, people familiar with the matter said.
“You have to understand just how devastated the average FTX employee was,” said Nathaniel Whittemore, a former FTX marketing specialist who quit last week. “Not only did it seem they might be out of job, but they also were potentially facing the total loss of their savings. All I could think of was rage and white-hot anger.”
It was also common for employees to hold FTX equity or get part of their pay in the exchange’s FTT tokens, the people said. Last fall, Mr. Bankman-Fried offered employees the opportunity to buy shares in FTX at a 50% discount to what venture capitalists had paid in a recent funding round, the people said. Now, that equity is worthless and the price of FTT has crashed 90% since the start of November.
Mr. Tackett—who continued to tweet updates to FTX customers last week even after quitting his sales job—said he had lost 80% of his net worth in the collapse. “I kept nearly all my money on FTX,” he told the Journal.
FTX also hired dozens of Bahamian citizens, largely for logistics, compliance and partnership roles. Excited to be part of what seemed like a promising new industry in their island country, some local hires spent thousands of dollars to buy FTX equity earlier this year, they said.