Tribe Capital explores injecting capital into bankrupt FTX exchange
Tribe Capital, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, is reportedly exploring the possibility of injecting new capital to revive the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, FTX. Bloomberg reported on April 18 that Tribe Capital is considering leading a $250 million fundraising campaign, with $100 million from itself and its limited partners. According to sources familiar with the matter, Tribe co-founder, Arjun Sethi, met with FTX’s Committee of Unsecured Creditors in January to discuss the informal proposal.
The venture capital firm’s proposal in January included an estimated 9 million customer accounts, FTX US, FTX Australia, FTX Japan, FTX EU, FTX International, and LedgerX. However, the proposal excluded a venture capital portfolio and crypto assets, among others. If the reboot plan is successful, the revived exchange would retain the name FTX.
On April 18, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of FTX confirmed via Twitter that it was “working with the Debtors to evaluate all options to reboot or sell the FTX exchanges and create value for creditors.” However, the committee added that “there is no definitive timetable for a reboot or sale of the exchanges at this time.”
In January, the judge overseeing the FTX bankruptcy proceedings gave the troubled crypto exchange approval to sell some of its assets to help repay its creditors. According to a filing in Delaware Bankruptcy Court, Judge John Dorsey approved the sale of four key units of FTX – the derivatives platform LedgerX, stock-trading platform Embed, and the exchange’s regional arms, FTX Japan and FTX Europe.
Attorneys from Sullivan & Cromwell, representing FTX at a hearing in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on April 12, stated that the exchange had recovered approximately $7.3 billion in liquid assets. This development offers hope for the future of the exchange, and it is possible that Tribe Capital’s proposed capital injection could be a critical step in FTX’s revival.
FTX was one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, with a valuation of $18 billion in December 2021. The exchange was founded in 2019 by Sam Bankman-Fried, a former Wall Street quant trader, and Gary Wang, a software developer . The exchange’s meteoric rise was driven by its advanced trading infrastructure and innovative products, such as leveraged tokens and prediction markets.
However, in December 2021, the exchange suffered a massive blow when it was hit by a wave of liquidations caused by the collapse of its risk-management system. The incident resulted in the loss of over $4 billion in customer funds, triggering a chain of events that led to the exchange’s bankruptcy.
Tribe Capital’s potential involvement in FTX’s revival is significant given its previous investment in the exchange. The venture capital firm was part of a group of investors that participated in FTX’s $900 million funding round in July 2021. However, Tribe Capital was also an investor in Archegos Capital Management, the family office that triggered a $20 billion margin call in March 2021, resulting in significant losses for several banks. The firm’s involvement with Archegos led some to question its due diligence processes and risk management practices.