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FTX says it will return money to most of its customers

The FTX logo appears on home plate umpire Jansen Visconti's jacket at a baseball game with the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 27, 2022, in Minneapolis.
Bruce Kluckhohn
/
AP
The FTX logo appears on home plate umpire Jansen Visconti's jacket at a baseball game with the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 27, 2022, in Minneapolis.

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

FTX said in a court filing late Tuesday that it owes about $11.2 billion to its creditors. The exchange estimates that it has between $14.5 billion and $16.3 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%.

That may be a diminished consolation for investors who were trading cryptocurrency on the exchange when it collapsed. When FTX sought bankruptcy protection in November 2022, bitcoin was going for $16,080. But crypto prices have soared as the economy recovered while the assets at FTX were sorted out over the past two years. A single bitcoin on Tuesday was selling for close to $62,675. That comes out to a 290% 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 or less will get about 118% of their claim, according to the plan, which was filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. This covers about 98% 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 Congress and celebrity endorsements from stars like quarterback Tom Brady, basketball point guard Stephen Curry and comedian Larry David.

The company appointed as 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% 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.

Copyright 2024 NPR

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The Associated Press