A Large Crypto Market Maker Is Already Distancing Itself From New 3AC Venture

The co-founders of bankrupt crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital is partnering with CoinFlex, which said the new company will be evolution of its "commitment to building open and transparent financial markets."

AccessTimeIconJan 16, 2023 at 6:12 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 17, 2023 at 3:50 p.m. UTC
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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

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Wintermute, the large crypto market maker, was quick to distance itself from a new fundraise by the co-founders of bankrupt hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC), echoing similar sentiments from the community.

The co-founders of Three Arrows Capital, Su Zhu and Kyle Davies partnered with Mark Lamb and Sudhu Arumugam, co-founders of crypto exchange CoinFlex – which is going through a restructuring process – to raise $25 million for a new exchange called GTX, according to a pitch deck seen by CoinDesk.

GTX said it plans is to create an exchange where users can trade crypto, stocks and debt claims on bankrupt companies like FTX. The founders sees a "clear market need" to unlock $20 billion of crypto claims, which GTX said it could "dominate" within two to three months, according to the presentation.

However, CoinFlex clarified in a blog that the new raise is part of its own potential rebranding strategy and the current name, GTX, is only serving as a placeholder for now. "Any new funds raised will be used for operational growth, which we strongly believe will increase value for CoinFLEX creditors," the company said in the blog post.

"This avenue will not only be an opportunity to serve a large number of existing crypto creditors but, in doing so, will also bring new volumes to the exchange through crypto trading," the blog added.

Both Lamb and Arumugam will remain as the new entities' executives, with Lamb continuing as the CEO, the blog post said, noting that it may add more key members to management to build and grow the company.

The crypto community was quick to convey their skepticism, with Wintermute's CEO being one of the prominent voices. "If you are investing into coinflex/3ac 'exchange' you might find it a bit more difficult to work with Wintermute in future (on the relationship building side)," the market maker's CEO Evgeny Gaevoy said in a tweet on Monday.

He also made it clear that his firm will not be investing in any projects, that includes 3AC's co-founders. "Similarly, we are not going to be participating in venture rounds where these guys are about to enter the cap table, so founders beware," Gaevoy noted in another tweet.

A crypto market maker is essentially a trading firm that use their own capital to make bets on tokens and take the other side of trades on exchanges when other players are trying to get in or out quickly. A large market maker, such as Wintermute, which trades over $5 billions a day, distancing itself from GTX is likely to resonate with potential backers against investing in the new firm.

The Singapore-based hedge fund crypto hedge fund went bust in 2022, after being unable to pay off its creditors due to a wave of unforeseen liquidations, Three Arrows filed for bankruptcy protection in July. At the time, the hedge fund was $3.5 billion in debt.

The hedge fund's co-founders were largely silent for months after the liquidation started, but resurfaced in the public eye after crypto exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy in November.

The new company is aiming to "lead the global progression towards greater financial transparency, liquidity and certainty" by initially soliciting claimants in the bankruptcies that have shaken crypto to trade their claims on GTX. These bankruptcies include BlockFi, which had lent money to 3AC and itself later went bankrupt, Celsius Network and FTX, according to the pitch deck.

The presentation doesn't specify if the users will also be able to trade 3AC claims. However, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Zhu, that some 3AC creditors would have the option to convert their claims into equity in the new claim-trading company.

GTX is planning to charge 0.25%-0.50% in fees and estimates time to market is "ASAP by end of February." Once the claims trading has drawn people in, GTX said it will "fill the power vacuum left by FTX" by allowing its users to trade crypto, and eventually stocks, the pitch deck said.

The cynicism about the new venture reverberated throughout the crypto community, including Nic Carter, a partner at Castle Island Ventures, a public blockchain-focused venture fund. "Disgraced fraudsters teaming up with other disgraced fraudsters to trade claims from a collapsed fraudulent exchange sounds backable," Carter said in a tweet.

None of the founders were available to comment on the pitch deck, at the time of the publication.

UPDATE (Jan. 16, 20:56 UTC): Adds more details from CoinFlex blog post.





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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.


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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.