Below is our initial take on recent bankruptcy-related developments:
When cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy last week, the company indicated that it had more than 100,000 creditors. The latest bankruptcy filing has revealed that there could be more than 1 million creditors with claims in the cases.
FTX’s Bahamas unit, FTX Digital Markets, has asked a New York court to recognize its bankruptcy in the Bahamas because they “reject the validity” of FTX’s U.S. bankruptcy. The SEC-appointed Bahamas liquidators filed a Chapter 15 bankruptcy petition this week to obtain records from FTX to protect creditors of the Bahamas-based company.
S&K Take: We will start the week with the 800-pound gorilla in the bankruptcy industry room, the incredible downfall of FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried. The Debtors’ First Day Declaration was filed yesterday and gives an idea of what the case is going to look like. John Ray, placed as CEO of the Debtors, has undertaken the huge task of piecing together all of the information about the Debtors’ operations. He did not mince words in the Declaration, saying that the FTX empire was in worse shape from an accounting perspective than Enron. High praise for sure. Seems like a fait accompli that SBF will have a long road filled with litigation ahead of him. The other issue that looks like it will highlight the beginning stages of the cases is venue—FTX Digital Markets is subject to a Bahamian liquidation proceeding, and the liquidators filed a chapter 15 in the SDNY (the other FTX cases are in Delaware). The FTX Debtors have already filed a motion to transfer that case to Delaware. At an initial conference, counsel to the liquidators sparred with FTX Debtors’ counsel, and it seems like there could be a dispute regarding the FTX Debtors’ authority to file, or at least some motion to appoint an examiner or otherwise looming. Long story short, buckle in. There will be a lot to sort out in these cases.
In September, FTX acquired the bankrupt crypto lending platform Voyager Digital. With FTX’s recent bankruptcy filing, Voyager announced that it will reopen the bidding process for the company, allowing Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, to prepare a bid to buy Voyager.
S&K Take: The FTX case has reverberated through the crypto industry and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. One example of that is the Voyager case, where FTX had been deemed the winning bidder for Voyager’s assets. That bid is clearly dead, and so the Voyager sale process is back to square one. Looks like Binance is going to throw their hat in the ring (again), and the Debtors have also stated that they have other options.
Cryptocurrency lender BlockFi Inc. has blocked withdrawals of customer funds, in preparation for a potential bankruptcy stemming in large part from its significant exposure to bankrupt crypto exchange FTX.
S&K Take: See above re reverberations. Another domino could fall in the FTX wake very soon, so we will be watching out for this one.