The failed crypto company FTX is apparently having initial talks with investors on bringing back the FTX.com exchange through structures such as a joint venture, a WSJ report said.
It is expected that FTX would undergo a rebranding process and also involve potential compensation arrangements for specific current clients, through the provision of ownership stakes in the restructured company, a source familiar with the matter told the Journal.
The newly appointed CEO John J. Ray III, who took office in November 2022 when FTX filed for bankruptcy, confirmed that the company has begun the process of reaching out to stakeholders for the relaunch of the FTX.com exchange.
“The company has begun the process of soliciting interested parties to the reboot of the FTX.com exchange.”
In May, a court filing revealed that John Ray is working on a FTX 2.0 reboot plan and according to a Cointelegraph report, he had scheduled a series of meetings with creditors and debtors in the past month.
Figure, a financial services company leveraging blockchain technology, has come forward in helping revive the international exchange, the source added. Additionally, interested parties that wish to participate in the relaunching of FTX, can submit their interest to the company and its advisers, this week.
FTX’s ongoing efforts to retrieve its operations come at a time when the entire crypto industry scrutiny is intensifying. Several jurisdictions and regulatory bodies worldwide are ramping up their supervision on the asset class.
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Another serious challenge in revamping the exchange would be reviving billions of customer funds. A forensic audit of FTX’s assets, after Ray took over the office, revealed a “massive shortfall” of about $9 billion customer funds.
In April, the company lawyers noted that FTX has recovered $7.3bn of customer funds and is having plans to rebuild its empire. However, Ray and his legal advisors have also hinted previously that a maximum of the misappropriated customer money would be difficult to retrieve.
Is FTX 2.0 Viable?
The proposed revival of FTX has a long way to go in order to gain trust, raise funds and clear debts.
It is possible to regain customer and investor support, but under new management and the support of regulators worldwide, according to William Callahan, former U.S. DOJ personnel and director of government and strategic affairs, Blockchain Intelligence Group.
“Under the leadership of Mr. Ray, FTX appears to be very transparent as to what had happened and how they are moving forward,” he told Cryptonews. “I also believe there is a lot of respect for the management team and it will attract incumbent financial services and investors to support these efforts.”
Callahan works to educate stakeholders about the illicit use of cryptocurrency and how to investigate these crimes through the use of forensics, risk analysis, and investigator training.
“FTX will have to lay out a plan to show investors how they will continue to be transparent, compliant with worldwide regulators, and offer services that are safe and secure. I think you will see a more focused FTX,” Callahan added.
Louise Abbott, partner at Keystone Law told cryptonews that FTX considering rebooting its platform is a “good thing.” “The Liquidator needs to carefully consider all options available to him to ensure the best possible return for investors and creditors generally.”
The exchange aims to file its restructuring plan by the third quarter of 2023, and expects to receive confirmation for its restructuring plan in the second quarter of 2024.
“That is still a year away. At this stage, they are gauging interest and support for the reboot,” Abbott said.
She noted that though the liquidator is open to all possibilities, there is no evidence or a concrete plan to restart the exchange, and is “hypothetical” at this stage.
“If plans get off the ground, any restart would require significant capital, and then there is the question of whether the market would trust FTX,” she added. “In addition to that, FTX has struggled with significant IT problems, software bugs etc – it is arguable that starting a new exchange altogether would be preferable.”
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