In November, FTX was one of the world’s leading crypto exchanges before declaring bankruptcy amid allegations of misuse of client funds. Two months later, John Ray, the executive overseeing the company’s bankruptcy, said he was considering reviving the exchange.
In an interview published speak the wall street journal On Thursday, Ray said he had set up a task force to consider restarting FTX.com, where millions of users have frozen assets. The priority for his team is to recover maximum value for the client’s businesses, which he says could also come from liquidating assets or selling the platform.
Prior to its collapse, FTX carved out a niche for itself as an exchange for experienced traders with its suite of offerings, including derivatives and margin trading. This complexity hides various frauds underlying its operations, including an agreement with a sister trading company, Alameda Research, and the use of customers’ money to conduct its own transactions.
Relaunching the exchange could be a pathway for customers to recover some of their assets, as well as an opportunity for the company to make a profit from trading activity.
The loss of customer assets to Alameda and a hacking of funds in November, however, means that FTX still faces a significant miss to win. While FTX lawyers say they recovered approximately $5.5 billion in assets, much of which is comprised of illiquid cryptocurrencies, including FTX’s proprietary token, FTT.
Ray, who previously oversaw the bankruptcy of Enron, took on a public role through his work at FTX. In December he testified at a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, describing how the company, once valued at $32 billion, used Quickbooks accounting software — an unthinkable move for a company of its size, according to Ray.
FTX was “a company only destined to fail,” Ray said.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, repeatedly pushed back against Ray’s claims. Bankman-Fried has spent the past two months claiming that the US arm of FTX is solvent, despite the collapse of the Bahamas-based exchange, including in a Substack post. published earlier this week.
In his interview with the the wall street journalRay said Bankman-Fried included about $250 million in cash on LedgerX, a crypto derivatives firm under the FTX umbrella that was the only entity regulated by a US government agency.
According to Ray, the money on LedgerX couldn’t cover FTX.US’ losses because it was improperly diverted from FTX clients in the first place.
“That’s the problem,” Ray said. “He thinks everything is a big pot of honey.”
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