The unsurprising fall out from the catastrophic and high profile demise of cryptocurrency exchange FTX has begun to make its presence felt.
At the end of the working day in the United States, it became publicly known that BlockFi, a commercial lending company which was founded in 2017 to provide credit services to markets with limited access to simple financial products, had gone bankrupt.
At one point in its five-year lifespan, BlockFi was valued at an astronomical $3 billion, however, like so many components of the modern economy, BlockFi has gone from startup to billion-dollar hyperbole, to ashes in just 5 years.
BlockFi announced earlier this month that it had halted withdrawals, citing “significant exposure” to the FTX exchange in the immediate aftermath of its demise. What that really means is that BlockFi had borrowed money from FTX, and when FTX went to the wall, BlockFi's assets became the interest of receivers.
This has represented yet another dark day for the digital asset sector, and this time has highlighted how it is not just cryptocurrency exchanges with unscrupulous owners that can collapse like a house of cards, but also others offering bona fide financial services such as lending, which can have their lives claimed because the board of directors put its faith in individuals such as Sam Bankman-Fried.
The result of this news is that Bitcoin had dipped in value once again over night, but interestingly it is now rising in value as the European markets opened this morning.
Bitcoin now stands at just a touch over $16,450, but certainly there has been some volatile movement this morning due to the 'sailing close to the wind' nature that BlockFi has demonstrated.
It may well be easy to blame BlockFi's demise on its dealings with FTX, but actually BlockFi had already shown signs of financial strife before Mr Bankman-Fried headed for the hills with his customers' money.
Back in the summer of this year, BlockFi ran into financial trouble and managed to secure a $250 million emergency funding from FTX.
Because BlockFi owed FTX this sum, the receivers moved in on BlockFi when FTX went bankrupt. At that time, Mark Renzi of Berkley Research Group stated in a corporate announcement “With the collapse of FTX, the BlockFi management team and board of directors immediately took action to protect clients and the Company.”
BlockFi revealed in its Chapter 11 petition that its three largest creditor claims are a $729 million indenture from Ankura Trust, a distressed loan administration company, a $275 million loan from West Realm Shires, the holding company for FTX’s US subsidiary, as well as a $30 million settlement payment to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Big debts and a big bankruptcy. The question remains, is it a buyers market right now, or are the bears still out in force?
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