Here's Some GOOD News For Those Screwed By Sam Bankman-Fried

By Jennifer Wentworth | Thursday, 09 May 2024 05:15 AM
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Image Credit : Photo by ABC News

In a recent court filing, FTX, the once third-largest cryptocurrency exchange globally, revealed plans to reimburse its creditors nearly two years after its dramatic collapse.

The company estimates it has between $14.5 billion and $16.3 billion to distribute, significantly more than the $11.2 billion it owes.

The filing detailed that after settling claims in full, the plan includes supplemental interest payments to creditors, provided there are remaining funds. The interest rate for most creditors stands at 9%. However, this may offer little comfort to investors who were trading cryptocurrency on the platform when it imploded.

In November 2022, when FTX sought bankruptcy protection, bitcoin was trading at $16,080. Since then, cryptocurrency prices have skyrocketed as the economy rebounded and FTX's assets were sorted out. On Tuesday, a single bitcoin was selling for nearly $62,675, representing a 290% loss for those who could have held onto their coins.

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According to the plan filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, customers and creditors claiming $50,000 or less will receive approximately 118% of their claim. This covers about 98% of FTX customers.

FTX managed to recover funds by monetizing a collection of assets, mainly proprietary investments held by the Alameda or FTX Ventures businesses, or litigation claims.

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The company's downfall began in November 2022 when it experienced the crypto equivalent of a bank run. Its CEO and founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, resigned amid the chaos. In March, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the massive fraud that occurred at FTX.

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Bankman-Fried's conviction marked a dramatic fall from grace, which had previously seen him testify before Congress, secure celebrity endorsements, and even feature in a Super Bowl advertisement.

John Ray III, a seasoned bankruptcy litigator known for managing the fallout from Enron's collapse, was appointed as the new CEO. "We are pleased to be in a position to propose a chapter 11 plan that contemplates the return of 100% of bankruptcy claim amounts plus interest for non-governmental creditors," Ray said in a prepared statement.

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While FTX technically remains a company, its future is uncertain. In early 2023, Ray announced the formation of a task force to explore the possibility of reviving FTX.com, the crypto exchange.

However, the company's tarnished reputation following the exposure of its mismanagement may hinder any attempts at a comeback. The cryptocurrency exchange industry may also have different parameters.

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Before FTX's collapse in late 2022, rival crypto exchange Binance briefly considered acquiring it. Binance's founder and former CEO, Changpeng Zhao, was recently sentenced to four months in prison for turning a blind eye to criminals using the platform for illicit activities. Despite this, Binance remains the world's largest crypto exchange.

The bankruptcy court is scheduled to hold a hearing on the dispersion of FTX assets on June 25.

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