FTX says most customers will get all their money back less than 2 years after crypto fraud crisis

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

FTX said in a court filing late Tuesday that it owes about $11.2 billion US 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 nine per cent.

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 US.

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 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 or less will get about 118 per cent 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 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.

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Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison in March

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves a federal court building on July 26, 2023, in New York. The disgraced former executive was sentenced to 25 years in prison in March for the massive fraud that occurred at FTX.  (Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press)

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 such as 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 per cent of bankruptcy claim amounts plus interest for non-governmental creditors,” Ray said in a prepared statement. 

The bankruptcy court is set to hold a hearing on June 25. 

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