Since FTX’s bankruptcy on November 11, 2022, significant developments have unfolded. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been swiftly convicted on seven criminal charges, potentially facing a prison sentence of up to 110 years. The federal criminal case, marked by unusual efficiency, resulted in a conviction within a year of FTX’s collapse and the initiation of charges.
Despite the expeditious nature of SBF’s trial, the extensive number of potential victims, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, may experience prolonged delays in receiving restitution. The FTX fraud resulted in the loss of an estimated $8 billion in customer assets.
While the current leadership of the exchange, under the guidance of bankruptcy expert John J. Ray III, known for his involvement in the Enron case, has been gradually recovering some funds, the extent and timeline of asset return to FTX users remain uncertain.
The gripping FTX saga laid bare profound gaps in the ability of United States financial regulators to keep up with the evolving industry.
Regulatory Gaps That Beg Attention
In the aftermath of Bankman-Fried’s downfall, the crypto industry, torn between skepticism and a desperate need to distance itself from the shadows of malfeasance, stands at a crossroads. Acknowledging the gravity of the former mogul’s transgressions, industry leaders contend that these were the actions of a lone “bad actor.”
Now that the high-profile cryptocurrency trial is over, the crypto landscape post-SBF is expected to be secure and not tainted by the kind of fraud and misappropriation associated with the individual.
While 2023 was anticipated to be the year for crypto regulation on the US legislative agenda, Congress has yet to pass any meaningful legislation on cryptocurrency.
Frustrated by the lack of progress, financial regulators in the country have taken matters into their own hands. In recent months, both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have intensified their enforcement efforts, targeting prominent cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase, Kraken, and Binance.
FTX Relaunch Rumors
A lot has changed for the defunct crypto exchange, which is contemplating the prospect of reopening as it navigates through the bankruptcy process, as revealed by attorneys from Sullivan & Cromwell during a court hearing on Wednesday.
One potential option under consideration involves allowing FTX’s creditors to convert a portion of their holdings into a stake in a reestablished exchange. Andy Dietderich, FTX’s lead attorney, informed the court that restarting the exchange was just one of several potential strategies being evaluated for the company’s future.
Dietderich noted that if this route is chosen, a substantial amount of capital would be necessary. There is an ongoing internal debate about whether this capital should be sourced from the FTX estate or external third-party capital. He mentioned the possibility that customers might have the option to take a portion of their proceeds, originally slated to be received in cash from the estate, and instead acquire an interest in the reestablished exchange.
However, Dietderich emphasized that the potential relaunch of FTX is just one of numerous considerations, and no decisions have been conclusively reached.