I have seen in the news that, in bankruptcy filings, it was revealed that FTX held no bitcoin. As far as I can find on the internet there's nothing pre-implosion that suggests user were explicitly unable to ever withdraw BTC... how is this possible? If FTX owned none, prior to the bank run, how were people able to take their assets off the exchange and into private custody? Would FTX just buy it spot and then give it to them?

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Bahamas authorities took custody of about $400 million worth of cryptocurrency that was held by FTX. It seems likely that that's what they had been using for things like withdrawals.

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