BlockFi files for bankruptcy as FTX fallout ripples through crypto industry

Source: Yahoo Finance

BlockFi, a crypto loan and borrow platform, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, becoming the latest crypto firm to go under following the rapid collapse of offshore trading venue FTX.

Started in 2017 by Zac Prince and Flori Marquez, BlockFi was one among several crypto companies to introduce lending and borrowing where customers could use cryptocurrencies as collateral.

The practice spelt the end of competitor firms Voyager Digital and Celsius Network earlier this summer as crypto prices plunged. BlockFi faced similar financial woes over the summer, but received an emergency bailout in the form of a $250 million line of credit from FTX, which contained the option for FTX to buy the firm a year later.

“With the collapse of FTX, the BlockFi management team and board of directors immediately took action to protect clients and the Company,” Mark Renzi of Berkley Research Group said in the company's announcement.

BlockFi would not offer further details regarding the events that led up to its bankruptcy outside of what is already publicly available.

BlockFi had previously frozen customer withdrawals on November 10. Four days after halting, it announced it had hired financial restructuring advisors, Berkley Research Group, citing “significant exposure to FTX and associated corporate entities.”

The exposure includes obligations owed to BlockFi by Alameda Research, assets held at FTX.com, and undrawn amounts from BlockFi's $250 million credit line with FTX.US. BlockFi has more than 100,000 creditors in addition to estimated assets and liabilities of between $1 billion and $10 billion according to its Chapter 11 filing.

While unsurprising, BlockFi's bankruptcy is no less taxing to crypto investors still reeling from the collapse of FTX earlier this month. Genesis Lending, a larger crypto lending firm, is facing similar financial woes after having paused customer withdrawals two weeks ago.

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.

“Thus far, while the FTX collapse has ultimately left the Debtors with no choice but to initiate these chapter 11 cases, I have found the BlockFi management team to be knowledgeable and experienced, diligent, responsible stewards of their stakeholders’ assets,” Berkley Research Group's Renzi said in the company's “declaration” court document.

Renzi stated in the declaration that BlockFi's bankruptcy filing was not due to a lack of internal oversight, but rather was the result of a “liquidity shortage” started in the first two weeks of November wherein, after first requesting more credit from FTX, its affiliate company Alameda defaulted on approximately $680 million of collateralized loan obligations to BlockFi.

Following BlockFi's filing, bitcoin prices remained near $16,200, off about 2% on Monday.

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