New FTX Head Says Crypto Exchange Could Be Revived: Wall Street Journal

John J. Ray III made the comment in his first interview since taking over FTX in November.

AccessTimeIconJan 19, 2023 at 4:03 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 19, 2023 at 6:01 p.m. UTC
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Nelson Wang is CoinDesk's news editor for the East Coast. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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The new head of FTX is exploring the possibility of restarting the bankrupt crypto exchange, according to an interview he gave to the Wall Street Journal, his first since taking over at FTX in November.

John J. Ray III, who previously handled Enron’s restructuring, said that despite the accusations of criminal misconduct against former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and other executives, customers have lauded FTX's technology and said it could be worth reviving the exchange.

“Everything is on the table,” Ray told the Journal. “If there is a path forward on that, then we will not only explore that, we’ll do it.”

The FTX token FTT was trading up 33% on Binance on the news.

The decision would come down to whether restarting FTX's international exchange would recover more for customers than just liquidating assets or selling the platform, Ray said.

In the interview, Ray also criticized Bankman-Fried's comments to the media and elsewhere as being unhelpful. Bankman-Fried has said FTX did not need to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and has been critical of Ray's decisions.

“We don’t need to be dialoguing with him,” Ray said. “He hasn’t told us anything that I don’t already know.”

In a text message to the Journal, Bankman-Fried responded, “This is a shocking and damning comment from someone pretending to care about customers.”

In a tweet after the WSJ article was published, Bankman-Fried wrote that he was "glad Mr. Ray is finally paying lip service to turning the exchange back on after months of squashing such efforts!"

UPDATE (Jan. 19, 16:24 UTC): Adds details.

UPDATE (Jan. 19, 17:21 UTC): Adds Bankman-Fried tweet.


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Nelson Wang is CoinDesk's news editor for the East Coast. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.