Bitcoin Falls Below $17K, First Time in 23 Months, as Binance Said to Waver on FTX Deal

Bitcoin (BTC) dropped to a new 23-month low on Wednesday, as crypto traders processed the news that the Binance exchange might demur on an earlier plan to buy its once-mighty but suddenly-ailing rival FTX.

The price of bitcoin hit $16,936 on crypto exchange Bitstamp on Wednesday, after CoinDesk reported that Binance is leaning toward scrapping the deal after a first glance at FTX's books. As of press time the BTC price had popped back up to $17,254, but still down 14% over the past 24 hours.

Binance on Tuesday said it would buy the billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX after what appeared to be a severe run on deposits.

CoinDesk reported previously that the balance sheet of Alameda Research, also under Bankman-Fried's control, was heavily weighted toward the FTX exchange's own token, FTT – signaling billions of dollars of exposure for which there might not be ample buyers, and thus prone to steep losses in the event of a sell-off.

Binance described its initial agreement as a non-binding letter of intent, and executives said the deal would be subject to due diligence.