BlockFi Creditors Say Crypto Lender Was a Victim of Bad Management

The creditors committee said in a court filing that BlockFi was pressing a “false case narrative” by portraying itself as a victim, and more blame should be placed on its management.

AccessTimeIconMay 16, 2023 at 7:08 a.m. UTC
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A war of words between the BlockFi Creditors Committee and the bankrupt digital asset lender's management continued in a court filing published late Monday.

The creditors called BlockFi’s narrative that it was a victim of FTX and Alameda a “false case narrative” and blamed the firm's failure on poor management decisions and subsequently its restructuring agents.

The creditors committee pointed out that in the days after the FTX collapse, when crypto markets plummeted, BlockFi converted around $240 million in cryptocurrency into fiat, resulting in significant financial losses and potential tax issues for customers. BlockFi then deposited the proceeds and an additional $10 million into Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), which later collapsed.

“SVB was not a depository institution of sufficient strength to meet the Bankruptcy Code’s protective requirements, prompting the United States Trustee to object to estate money being deposited there,” creditors wrote. “Eventually, an arrangement was reached whereby SVB would post sufficient collateral (in the form of a bond) should there be a bank failure.”

However, nobody at BlockFi bothered to follow through with this, including the restructuring team, and no bond was posted, the creditors said. “It’s a good thing the federal government stepped in to bail out all SVB depositors, including BlockFi,” they wrote.

The creditors argued that additionally BlockFi spent $22.5 million of customer funds to purchase a $30 million insurance policy for its directors and officers.

Since the lows of November 2022, bitcoin (BTC) has gained nearly 63%, according to CoinDesk market data, and creditors argue that there was nearly $100 million in value lost because of that decision to liquidate then. Notably a portion of this document is redacted, particularly key paragraphs where the creditors explain why they believe the BlockFi team was engaged in a “false case narrative”.

A redacted part of the court filing (Court Listener)
A redacted part of the court filing (Court Listener)
Another redacted part of the court filing (Court Listener)
Another redacted part of the court filing (Court Listener)

Recovery depends on FTX and Alameda

In the wake of its bankruptcy spurred by FTX's collapse, BlockFi is set to return nearly $300 million to custodial wallet users as per a recent ruling, while retaining $375 million from its interest-bearing accounts.

While the company managed to secure $4.7 million from the sale of mining rigs, significant recoveries hinge on the firm's claims against Alameda and FTX, with around $355 million in cryptocurrency frozen on FTX and a $671 million loan to FTX's affiliate, Alameda Research.

BlockFi is due back in court on June 20.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.

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