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Crypto lender BlockFi files for bankruptcy after FTX collapse | Cryptocurrencies


The crypto lender BlockFi has become the sector’s latest big operator to declare bankruptcy, as the fallout of the collapse of offshore cryptocurrency exchange FTX continues to spread.

BlockFi, which operates in a similar fashion to a conventional bank, paying interest on savings and using customer deposits to fund lending, says it has $256.9m cash in hand. According to court documents, its creditors include FTX itself, to which it owes $275m, and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to which it owes $30m.

In a statement announcing its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, BlockFi said: “This action follows the shocking events surrounding FTX and associated corporate entities and the difficult but necessary decision we made as a result to pause most activities on our platform.

“Since the pause, our team has explored every strategic option and alternative available to us, and has remained laser-focused on our primary objective of doing the best we can for our clients.

“These Chapter 11 cases will enable BlockFi to stabilise the business and provide BlockFi with the opportunity to consummate a reorganisation plan that maximises value for all stakeholders, including our valued clients.”

The SEC levied a $100m fine on the company in February for violating securities laws, arguing that the investment products the company offered qualified as unregistered securities. The outstanding $30m debt is apparently the unpaid portion of that fine.

BlockFi has already stumbled close to bankruptcy once already this year, in the wake of spring’s crypto crash.

After chief executive Zac Prince said the company needed an injection of capital to stave off a liquidity crisis, it signed a deal with none other than FTX, which gave the company access to $400m in loans. The price of the deal was an option from FTX to buy the lender for about $240m, a sharp decline from a peak valuation of $3bn.

That option was never exercised, and the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange sparked a bank run at BlockFi, seen by customers as dangerously entangled with Sam Bankman-Fried’s company, that proved terminal. Without the ability to draw on the credit line, nor access its own funds stored on the FTX platform, BlockFi was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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