Voyager Lawyers ‘Surprised’ Binance.US Canceled $1B Deal

Creditors can expect to receive between 40% and 65% recoveries, ideally in crypto, attorneys for the bankrupt crypto lender said in court Wednesday.

AccessTimeIconApr 26, 2023 at 4:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 26, 2023 at 11:27 p.m. UTC

Voyager Digital was taken by surprise when Binance.US canceled a $1 billion deal to buy its assets on Tuesday. The exchange was still showing interest as recently as last week, Voyager's attorneys said in a New York courtroom on Wednesday.

Binance.US had made an offer for the bankrupt crypto lender in December but pulled out on Tuesday, citing an "uncertain regulatory climate" in the U.S.

“The debtors have been in constant contact and communication with Binance.US and as lately as this past Friday, Binance.US had expressed the desire to close the transaction as soon as possible,” Christine Okike of law firm Kirkland & Ellis, representing Voyager, told a bankruptcy court in the Southern District Court of New York, adding that “the debtors reserve all rights against Binance.US for breach" of the deal.

Given the collapse of the Binance.US deal, likely recoveries for Voyager creditors are in the range of 40% to 65%, Okike said, depending on whether Voyager wins a parallel lawsuit involving bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, and how much recovery FTX offers its creditors.

Okike also said Voyager would attempt to give creditors back their holdings in original cryptocurrency, dismissing speculation it would instead seek to pay the cash equivalent.

“The debtors have every intention of making 'in kind' distributions subject to regulatory restrictions and our platform functionality,” Okike said, but warned that a shifting legal position from U.S. regulators could complicate Voyager's ability to do so.

“We're faced with a situation where the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] may not have taken a position or issued a formal order with respect to [Voyager’s token] VGX,” Okike said, “But they've made certain allegations that could make it untenable in certain situations for the debtors, for instance, to sell VGX into the market.”

The regulatory uncertainty that would require payments to be made in cash applied to tokens with a likely total value of $1.6 million within an overall estate of around $1 billion, Okike said.

Voyager filed for bankruptcy in July, and a deal by FTX to buy its assets fell through after FTX also collapsed in November. The Binance.US deal was held up in part by protestations from the SEC that the fine print of the deal offered exoneration for breaches of tax or securities law.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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Jack Schickler

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