Cryptocurrency exchange FTX lost hundreds of millions of dollars in a hack as it entered administration.

General counsel Ryne Miller said on Saturday it was “investigating abnormalities with wallet movements related to consolidation of FTX balances across exchanges”.

Blockchain forensics firm Elliptic put the estimated amount stolen at $473 million. Tether said it had frozen $31.4m of its stablecoin tokens over suspicions they were being moved by a hacker. 

FTX, which has $50 billion in assets and liabilities and 100,000 creditors, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US late on Friday. Creditors range from individual traders to hedge funds and major trading houses.

High-profile boss Sam Bankman-Fried stepped down as CEO, replaced by restructuring specialist John J Ray, who presided over the Enron bankruptcy case.

FTX’s trading arm Alameda Research – reportedly the recipient of $10bn from FTX to fund trading bets – is also being wound down, along with more than 100 other affiliated companies.

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Bankman-Fried, who apologised via Twitter on Thursday, has sought to establish himself at the centre of discussions over crypto regulation in Washington DC, while he donated millions to politicians during the recent US midterm elections.

US authorities The Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) are now investigating the activities of FTX.

FTX, in the top five global exchanges by volume, was valued at $32bn by a $400m Series C funding round earlier this year which took its total funding to $2bn.

The firm was backed by world-leading VCs Temasek, BlackRock, Coinbase Ventures and Sequoia Capital.

The crisis was triggered by reports that a notable portion of FTX’s sister investment fund Alameda Research’s balance sheet was made up largely of its native FTX Token (FTT) and Solana’s SOL token.