FTX Loan Wiped Out $800M in BlockFi Executives’ Equity, Court Filing Reveals

The crypto lender released extensive details of financial transactions in the run-up to its own collapse in November.

AccessTimeIconJan 12, 2023 at 9:50 a.m. UTC
Updated Jan 12, 2023 at 4:50 p.m. UTC

Executives from bankrupt crypto lender BlockFi granted themselves pay rises of as much as $275,000 each, after they saw $800 million in their equity holdings wiped out because of a loan from collapsed crypto exchange FTX, a court filing shows.

A statement of financial affairs for BlockFi, which was filed Thursday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, contains thousands of pages of transactions that took place in the run-up to BlockFi's collapse. The firm had gross revenue of over $4 million for 2022 until its bankruptcy filing in November.

Last June, FTX offered BlockFi a $400 million loan, and Thursday's filing details the impact of the loan on 13 of BlockFi’s top executives.

“The massive impact of the FTX transaction on management equity led BlockFi’s board of directors to, among other things, increase base salaries and make retention payments for those that remained in the interest of retaining business critical knowledge and capabilities,” the filing stated.

Founder and CEO Zac Prince, for example, saw $413 million in equity value eliminated, and was compensated by a salary increase from $250,000 to $400,000, while Chief Operating Officer Flori Marquez saw a raise from $225,000 to $500,000, the filing said.

BlockFi lawyers have been at pains to stress that – unlike other crypto bankruptcy cases such as the one for lender Celsius Network – there were no last-minute panicky withdrawals by BlockFi senior executives before its collapse.

No member of the BlockFi management team withdrew any cryptocurrency from the platform after Oct. 14, the filing said, and the management team represented just 0.15% of the $7.7 billion in retail withdrawals over the year.

But the filings nonetheless reveal significant withdrawals made by senior management – including over $9 million taken out of the platform by Prince in April, which the filing said was to pay U.S. federal and state taxes, and his withdrawal of just over $870,000 in August.

Most transaction data is anonymized, with the court due to consider next week whether to unseal creditor information. In a parallel hearing Wednesday, a Delaware judge agreed FTX customer names can remain secret for three months.

CORRECTION (Jan. 12, 16:50 UTC): corrects figures for salary raises.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler is a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.

Read more about