Nov 28, 2022 - Economy

Crypto lender BlockFi files for bankruptcy

Illustration of a business person standing on a crumbling bitcoin.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Cryptocurrency lender BlockFi has filed for Chapter 11, becoming the latest casualty of crypto contagion following the collapse of FTX.

Why it matters: The dominoes continue to fall in the crypto world, as a series of bad bets and a market plunge has sent companies like FTX into bankruptcy.

Details: The firm and eight of its affiliates filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey.

  • The firm has engaged Haynes and Boone, Kirkland & Ellis, and Cole Schotz as legal counsel. Moelis & Company is serving as its investment banker, and Berkeley Research Group (BRG) is serving as its financial adviser.
  • BlockFi says it has $256.9 million in cash on hand to support ongoing operations during the restructuring process.

Flashback: BlockFi was one of several firms FTX helped prop up following the liquidation of 3AC.

  • In July, BlockFi agreed to a $400 million credit facility from FTX, along with an option for the crypto exchange to acquire it outright for up to $240 million.

State of play: But FTX's business quickly collapsed the company filed for bankruptcy, putting BlockFi's own future in doubt.

  • The day FTX filed, BlockFi halted withdrawals and asked clients not to make any additional deposits.
  • Later, the company said it had significant exposure to FTX and related entities, including assets held at FTX.com, undrawn amounts from its credit line with FTX US, and obligations owed by FTX's sister trading firm Alameda Research.

Of note: Prior to the events of this year, BlockFi had raised $1 billion in venture funding from investors like Tiger Global and Bain Capital Ventures.

The intrigue: Most of BlockFi’s top 50 creditors aren’t revealed by the filing, but those that are include West Realm Shires (a.k.a. FTX US) for $250 million and the SEC for $30 million.

  • The money owed to the SEC is associated with a $100 million settlement it struck earlier this year with the agency and state regulators related to its yield-earning product.
  • But any FTX-related liabilities BlockFi has might be offset by funds it is owed from the bankrupt crypto exchange.
  • In a statement announcing the filing, BlockFi said that “due to the recent collapse of FTX and its ensuing bankruptcy process, which remains ongoing, the Company expects that recoveries from FTX will be delayed.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to remove Dan Loeb as an investor, who was mistakenly added in a previous version.

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