BlockFi files for bankruptcy

Crypto lending firm BlockFi has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the wake of the FTX collapse. The company was in dire straits in the spring after Terra and Three Arrows Capital blow-ups, but was bailed out in June by a $250 million loan from FTX, followed by a deal giving BlockFi a $400 million credit facility and giving FTX the "option to acquire" BlockFi.

Because of this dependency, it was no surprise when BlockFi announced they were once again in crisis following the FTX explosion. On November 15, the Wall Street Journal reported they were preparing for possible bankruptcy and considering layoffs.

On November 28, BlockFi filed for bankruptcy. Their filing estimates they have more than 100,000 creditors (the maximum option on the form), between $1–10 billion in assets, and between $1–10 billion in liabilities.

BlockFi plans layoffs, possible bankruptcy after FTX collapse

Cryptocurrency lending company BlockFi suspended withdrawals on November 10 after the FTX collapse, an expected move since they had stayed afloat after the previous crypto meltdown only thanks to hundreds of millions in loans from FTX.

Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that BlockFi has been considering layoffs, and has been in talks with bankruptcy attorneys about a possible Chapter 11 filing.

Although BlockFi disputed reports that they had been custodying client assets at FTX, they acknowledged that they had "significant exposure to FTX and associated corporate entities that encompasses obligations owed to us by Alameda, assets held at FTX.com, and undrawn amounts from our credit line with FTX.US".

SALT crypto lender halts their service

The crypto lending firm SALT announced that they would be halting withdrawals due to exposure to FTX. "I am sorry to report that the collapse of FTX has impacted our business," they wrote in a message to users. "Until we are able to determine the extent of this impact with specific details that we feel confident are factually accurate, we have paused deposits and withdrawals on the SALT platform effective immediately."

FTX files for bankruptcy, Sam Bankman-Fried resigns

Aaaand there it goes.

FTX announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. Sam Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO.

SBF had spoken about trying to raise additional funds. In leaked Slack messages, he had allegedly written that "One could maybe say, if they wanted to be optimistic, that we have a lot theoretically in and/or potentially for the raise". No one was actually saying this.

Users attempt to circumvent FTX withdrawal freeze with bribes and NFTs

Users panicked when FTX stopped processing withdrawals, particularly those with substantial amounts of funds locked in the exchange. When the exchange tweeted that they had "begun to facilitate withdrawals of Bahamian funds", some saw an opportunity.

"Any FTX employees willing to change my accounts country of residence to Bahamas to facilitate withdrawal I am offering $1 million and unlimited legal fees", wrote one trader (who later claimed to be joking).

A popular crypto Twitter user named "Algod" offered $100,000 to any FTX employee who would process their KYC documents, allowing them to withdraw. He was subsequently seen to be successfully withdrawing over $2 million in assets from the platform. He also shared links to a Telegram group where his partner was offering to buy people's FTX accounts for 10¢ on the dollar, from customers who feared they may never see the money again, or would only regain access to a fraction of it after years of court proceedings. Algod later denied "erroneous and defamatory statements" that he'd bought discounted claims/assets", admitting that he'd considered it, but claiming he ultimately decided not to.

Some observers noticed over $21 million withdrawn via NFT trades, that appeared to be being used as a way to bypass the internal blocks on users transferring balances to one another. People with funds locked in FTX bought NFTs from Bahamas-based users, spending their full account balance on the NFT and thus enabling the Bahamian user to then withdraw the funds. "This appears to be the first recorded case of NFT utility in existence 👍", wrote Cobie.

The Securities Commission of the Bahamas freezes FTX assets, appoints provisional liquidator

The Securities Commission of the Bahamas (where FTX is headquartered) announced they had frozen the assets of FTX and "related parties"—presumably Alameda. They also disclosed that they had suspended FTX's registration, and appointed a provisional liquidator.

The announcement went on to say, "The Commission is aware of public statements suggesting that clients’ assets were mishandled, mismanaged and/or transferred to Alameda Research. Based on the Commission’s information, any such actions would have been contrary to normal governance, without client consent and potentially unlawful."

BlockFi suspends withdrawals

BlockFi had a tough time this past June, floundering after substantial losses in the crypto downturn. They were bailed out by FTX, who extended them a $250 million loan, then shortly after reached a deal that would give them the option to acquire BlockFi, and also extended BlockFi $400 million in revolving credit.

Now, the bailer is the one requiring the bailing, and the possible bailout of FTX by Binance fell through. This means that BlockFi is in a tough and uncertain spot, which is why they announced through Twitter that "until there is further clarity, we are limiting platform activity, including pausing client withdrawals". They also wrote that they had learned about the FTX collapse via Twitter.

BlockFi founder and COO Flori Marquez had tweeted only two days prior, just after the FTX news, that "All BlockFi products are fully operational. BlockFi is an independent business entity. We have a $400MM line of credit from FTX.US (not FTX.com) and will remain an independent entity until at least July 2023. We are processing all client withdrawals."

The Binance/FTX deal is off

It's over as quickly as it started, and it started pretty dang quickly. Binance walked away from the non-binding letter of intent that Binance signed to acquire FTX, which doesn't come as a huge surprise given how much they couched the announcement in caveats that it was subject to due diligence and that Binance could exit any time.

According to Binance, "As a result of corporate due diligence, as well as the latest news reports regarding mishandled customer funds and alleged US agency investigations, we have decided that we will not pursue the potential acquisition of FTX.com."

FTX is really up a creek. Reports suggest that the hole on their balance sheet is looking like $8 billion, a circumstance that is certainly not improving as FTT prices continue to plummet.

There is still no news about what will happen to Alameda, but the SBF-owned quant firm's website has ominously been taken offline.

Iris Energy Bitcoin mining firm close to defaulting on loans of $103 million

Iris Energy, an Australian "sustainable Bitcoin mining company", has announced that they are close to defaulting on loans used to purchase $103 million of Bitcoin mining rigs. These machines depreciate in value quickly, and are currently estimated by the company to be worth $65–$70 million. At the moment, they produce $2 million in gross profit from mining Bitcoin, which is not sufficient for the company to meet the $7 million of loan payments each month.

Core Scientific Bitcoin mining operator warns of missed payments, possible bankruptcy

One of the largest public crypto mining firms in the United States, Core Scientific, filed a notice with the SEC that they would miss upcoming debt payments due in October and November. They also wrote that the company "potentially could seek relief under the applicable bankruptcy or insolvency laws. In the event of a bankruptcy proceeding or insolvency, or restructuring of our capital structure, holders of the Company’s common stock could suffer a total loss of their investment."

Core Scientific blamed their precarious financial situation on "the prolonged decrease in the price of bitcoin, the increase in electricity costs, the increase in the global bitcoin network hash rate and the litigation with Celsius Networks LLC and its affiliates". Bankrupt crypto platform Celsius owes Core Scientific around $5.4 million.

Core Scientific's stock plummeted from around $1 a share to around $0.20 on the news, an 80% decrease. The stock started the year at $10.43 a share, and has decreased in value by 98% year-to-date.

No JavaScript? That's cool too! Check out the Web 1.0 version of the site to see more entries.