The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, Binance, may now be the largest holder of Bitcoin as well. It’s Bitcoin balance has risen significantly following the collapse of FTX, with its total holdings now nearing 600,000.
According to data from crypto analytics platform Coinglass, Binance added more than 137,000 coins the week after the FTX collapse.
At the time of writing, the price of Bitcoin was hovering around $16,000, making Binance's holdings worth over $9 billion.
According to Coinglass, Coinbase Pro, Bitfinex, Gemini, and Kraken are the next four largest exchange holders of Bitcoin after Binance. They hold 528,900, 345,597, 153,212, and 70,622 coins, respectively. Unlike those four, however, Binance was the only exchange with a positive net Bitcoin flow immediately following the FTX collapse.
Initially, Binance signed a non-binding agreement to acquire FTX, but backed out of the deal one day later.
FTX, which was once the third largest cryptocurrency exchange, had itself developed a reputation as crypto’s bail-out king. Its collapse has led many in the crypto industry to raise concerns over the reliability of the biggest crypto players.
Many crypto exchanges, including Binance, Crypto.com, Bybit, and Huobi, have recently shared their proof-of-reserves (PoR) — revealing how much and what cryptocurrencies they store for their customers — in order to head off this skepticism. PoR uses Merkle Trees to capture data and get a set of fingerprints that let users verify that their funds were properly audited by a third party.
However, some firms, like crypto investment firm Grayscale, have refused to share their PoR, citing "security concerns." The company defended its decision in a recent Twitter thread, claiming the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which Grayscale uses as custodian, frequently performs “on-chain validation.”
While this may be enough for some, the chaos at FTX seems sure to give pause to investors asked to take cryptocurrency firms on their word from now on.