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FTX says it will return money to most crypto customers nearly 2 years after catastrophic demise

FTX says it will return money to most crypto customers nearly 2 years after catastrophic demise

Fallen cryptocurrency exchange FTX says that nearly all of its customers will receive the money back that they are owed, two years after its spectacular implosion, and some will get more than that.

FTX said in a court filing late on Tuesday that it owes about $11.2 billion (€10.4 billion) to its creditors. The exchange estimates that it has between $14.5 billion (€13.5 billion) and $16.3 billion (€15.1 billion) to distribute to them.

The filing said that after paying claims in full, the plan provides for supplemental interest payments to creditors, to the extent that funds still remain. The interest rate for most creditors is 9 per cent.

That may be a diminished consolation for investors who were trading cryptocurrency on the exchange when it collapsed.

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When FTX sought bankruptcy protection in November 2022, bitcoin was going for $16,080 (€14,965).

But crypto prices have soared as the economy recovered while the assets at FTX were sorted out over the past two years.

Losses and claims

A single Bitcoin on Tuesday was selling for close to $62,675 (€58,331). That comes to a 290 per cent loss, a bit less than that if accrued interest is counted, if those investors had held onto those coins.

Customers and creditors that claim $50,000 (€46,534) or less will get about 118 per cent of their claim, according to the plan, which was filed with the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

This covers about 98 per cent of FTX customers.

FTX said that it was able to recover funds by monetizing a collection of assets that mostly consisted of proprietary investments held by the Alameda or FTX Ventures businesses, or litigation claims.

FTX was the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world when it filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2022 after it experienced the crypto equivalent of a bank run.

CEO and founder Sam Bankman-Fried resigned when the exchange collapsed. In March he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the massive fraud that occurred at FTX.

Bankman-Fried was convicted in November of fraud and conspiracy — a dramatic fall from a crest of success that included a Super Bowl advertisement, testimony before the US Congress and celebrity endorsements from stars like American footballer Tom Brady, basketball point guard Stephen Curry and comedian Larry David.

Binance's Zhao sentenced

The company appointed its new CEO John Ray III, a long-time bankruptcy litigator who is best known for having to clean up the mess made after the collapse of Enron.

"We are pleased to be in a position to propose a chapter 11 plan that contemplates the return of 100 per cent of bankruptcy claim amounts plus interest for non-governmental creditors," Ray said in a prepared statement.

FTX, technically, remains a company but its future is unclear. In early 2023, Ray said that he had formed a task force to explore reviving FTX.com, the crypto exchange.

The sordid details of a company-run amuck that emerged after its assets were seized would hamstring almost any business attempting a comeback, but there may also be different parameters for cryptocurrency exchanges.

The rival crypto exchange Binance briefly explored acquiring FTX before it collapsed in late 2022.

Its founder and former CEO Changpeng Zhao was sentenced last week to four months in prison for looking the other way as criminals used the platform to move money connected to child sex abuse, drug trafficking, and terrorism.

Binance is still the largest crypto exchange in the world.

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