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Monday, March 20, 2023

Sequoia Capital downgrades its investment in FTX to $0

Shown here is a stack of Bitcoins after software engineer Mike Caldwell minted them at his store in Sandy, Utah.

George Frey | fake images

Venture capital firm Sequoia Capital said it will zero out its over $210 million investment in cryptocurrency exchange FTX as bankruptcy possibilities loom.

“In recent days, a liquidity crisis has created a solvency risk for FTX,” Sequoia said in a statement. note to investors posted on Twitter.

“Based on our current understanding, we are downgrading our investment to $0,” the Silicon Valley-based firm said on Wednesday.

“The full nature and extent of this risk is not known at this time,” Sequoia said, adding that they are monitoring the rapidly developing situation.

FTX, owned by 30-year-old businessman Sam Bankman-Fried, was valued at $32 billion earlier this year.

Sequoia’s announcement comes as rival exchange Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao backed out of a proposed deal to buy FTX, leaving the beleaguered firm at risk of a liquidity crunch.

Also on Wednesday, the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission launched investigations into the sudden implosion of the cryptocurrency trading platform.

FTX’s native FTT token is down almost 30% and traded at $2.21 on Thursday. The broader cryptocurrency market has also taken a beating, with bitcoin hitting a new low for the year earlier this week.

Read more about technology and crypto from CNBC Pro

Sequoia noted that its exposure to FTX was limited and that it invested $150 million in FTX.com and FTX.us through the Global Growth Fund III.

“FTX is not a top ten holding in the fund,” the company said, adding that it represents less than 3% of the fund’s total capital.

“The fund remains in good shape,” the note said, explaining how its losses due to its FTX exposure are offset by increased capital flow from “realized and unrealized gains in the same fund.”

“We are in the business of taking risks,” Sequoia said in his note. “Some investments will surprise to the upside, and some will surprise to the downside.”

‘Wild Wild West’

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