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FTX Amasses $4.4 Billion Stockpile as Customers Await Repayment

FTX has reportedly been selling crypto assets and stockpiling cash as it looks to repay customers.

Those customers’ accounts have been in limbo since the cryptocurrency exchange collapsed in November 2022. A Bloomberg News report Saturday (Jan. 27), citing court documents, said that FTX’s largest affiliates had $4.4 billion in cash at the end of last year.

According to the report, the increase in FTX’s cash is happening as customer accounts have been rising in value: customer claims worth upwards of $1 million were trading at around 73 cents on the dollar at the end of last week, compared to 38 cents on the dollar in October. 

Still, Bloomberg noted that FTX has said it doesn’t expect customers to be fully repaid. A number of those customers have pushed back against a proposal by the company that would peg the value of their crypto at what it was worth at the time of the bankruptcy. That value has gone up considerably since 2022 thanks to the recent bitcoin rally.

“The bitcoin and ethereum I held on FTX prior to the collapse were purchased nearly a decade ago,” customer Robert Shearer wrote in a recent court filing protesting the plan. “Simply put, I had no intention to sell at the market bottom price.”

However, FTX’s bankruptcy team has said it would be impractical to determine the exact value of each customer’s portfolio, as there are just too many claims.

“It is simply not realistic that the debtors would be able to liquidate every one of the millions of claims based on digital assets,” FTX said in a filing.

Saturday’s news comes a little more than a week after a federal appeals court ordered an investigation into FTX’s collapse.

As noted here, the court agreed with a government watchdog’s contention that appointing an independent bankruptcy examiner was needed due to billions of dollars in customer assets connected to the case.

The naming of an examiner reflects Congress’ commitment to protecting debtors and creditors in cases of great public interest, a three-judge panel ruled. 

The U.S. Trustee, a Department of Justice bankruptcy watchdog, argued that an independent examiner should investigate fraud and mismanagement at FTX prior to its collapse, saying the investigation was too important to be left to creditors and current management.