Earlier this month, bankrupt crypto exchange FTX received approval from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to liquidate nearly $3.4 billion worth of crypto assets. While this development has understandably caused some concern among crypto investors, experts argue that a well-structured phased liquidation schedule will work to ensure market stability throughout the process.
This significant decision stems from the FTX bankruptcy lawsuit, which has reached a crucial juncture in the second week of September. In addition to the $3.4 billion in crypto assets slated for sale, the court has approved the inclusion of $1.3 billion in brokerage and government-recovered assets as part of the liquidation process, bringing the total tally to a substantial $7.1 billion in liquid assets.
Understanding The Assets and Liquidation
Among the various cryptocurrencies lined up for liquidation, Solana stands out as the largest with a value of $1.16 billion, closely followed by Bitcoin, valued at $560 million. Other assets on the list include $192 million in Ether, $137 million in Aptos, $120 million in Tether, $119 million in XRP, $49 million in Biconomy Exchange Token (BIT), $46 million in Stargate Finance (STG), $41 million in Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), and $37 million in Wrapped Ethereum (WETH).
Notably, Bitcoin, Ether, and tokens associated with insiders can only be sold after providing a 10-day advance notice to U.S. trustees appointed by the Department of Justice. The court has also granted the option for hedging these assets, allowing FTX to use various financial instruments such as futures, options, and perpetual swaps to offset potential losses.
Phased Liquidation and the Potential Impact
The decision to liquidate such a significant amount of crypto assets has captured widespread attention, with many pondering its potential impact on the crypto market. Joshua Garcia, a partner at Ketsal, a Web3-focused legal firm, suggests that the court's primary concern is the recovery of funds for creditors rather than the immediate market effects of the liquidation: "The concern here is millions of users suffered substantial losses due to FTX’s actions. Making victims as whole as possible is the top priority."
The discovery of these substantial liquid assets has provided some relief to the case's creditors. Blake Harris, an asset protection attorney, believes that these assets could offer more flexibility in managing the bankruptcy case, allowing for a strategic approach that balances immediate financial requirements with broader market implications.
Market analysts anticipate that Solana and Aptos prices are most likely to experience volatility after liquidation, based on the daily trading volume of each token.
Despite the substantial assets involved, the bankruptcy court has taken careful measures to ensure that FTX's asset liquidation does not disrupt the broader crypto market. FTX has been authorized to sell digital assets through an investment adviser in weekly batches, under predefined rules. Galaxy Digital has been entrusted with the responsibility of liquidating these assets, focusing on maximizing returns for FTX's creditors while maintaining market stability.
Furthermore, the court has granted FTX permission to employ staking options available through their qualified custodians, using private validators if deemed in the best interest of the estate. In the initial week, the sale of assets is capped at $50 million, followed by $100 million caps in subsequent weeks, with the potential to increase this limit to $200 million per week with approval from the creditors' committee and ad hoc committee.
Anthony Panebianco, a commercial business litigator, emphasizes that the court's approach to the liquidation process is designed to protect both creditors and non-creditors, with a particular focus on how these assets will be managed in the future to prevent similar situations.
As the crypto market watches this significant development unfold, the ongoing FTX saga serves as a stark reminder of the importance of trust and responsibility within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, even as legal proceedings continue to shape its future.