Cryptocurrencies have been hit hard by fears that interest rate hikes will end the era of cheap money, with the world’s biggest digital asset, bitcoin, down more than 56% from this year’s high. Several crypto companies have filed for bankruptcy or been forced to seek emergency capital infusions.
Singaporean crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC) filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy on July 1. Once a formidable player in the digital asset space, 3AC’s downfall appeared to stem from the firm’s bet on the Terra ecosystem, which was behind it. terraUSD stablecoin failed. The token lost almost all of its value in May, draining nearly half a trillion dollars from the crypto market.
The highly leveraged 3AC was unable to meet calls for additional payment from the counterparties it borrowed from. As a result, crypto lenders BlockFi and Genesis Trading liquidated their positions in the firm. According to court filings, 3AC’s creditors say they are owed more than $2.8 billion.
CELSIUS NETWORK New Jersey-based crypto lender Celsius suspended withdrawals on June 12 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a month later, listing a $1.19 billion deficit on its balance sheet. It was valued at $3.25 billion in an October funding round. Celsius encountered complex investments in the wholesale digital asset market.
The company lured retail investors by promising annual returns of up to 18.6%, but struggled to meet redemptions as cryptocurrency prices fell. In its first bankruptcy filing, lawyers for Celsius said bitcoin mining could provide the company with a way to repay customers. Meanwhile, several state regulators are investigating Celsius’ decision to suspend customer selection, Reuters reported.
Crypto lender Voyager Digital, also based in New Jersey, has been a rising crypto star, reaching a market capitalization of $3.74 billion last year. But the collapse of 3AC dealt a major blow to Voyager, which was heavily exposed to the hedge fund. Voyager filed claims of more than $650 million against 3AC.
Voyager filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 6 and announced that it has $110 million in cash and crypto assets. Since then, the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corp has confirmed that it is investigating Voyager’s marketing of deposit accounts for cryptocurrency purchases that the company advertised as FDIC insured.
Crypto exchange FTX and Alameda Research, both founded by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, offered to buy all of Voyager’s digital assets and loans, with the exception of 3AC’s loans, and allowed Voyager customers to withdraw their assets from the FTX account. Voyager, however, dismissed the offer as a “low price offer” in a court filing.
Singaporean crypto lender Vauld filed for protection from its creditors in a Singapore court on July 8 after suspending withdrawals a few days ago. The company owes its creditors $402 million, The Block reports. Vauld is backed by billionaire investor Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Pantera Capital and Coinbase Ventures. In a July 11 blog post, Vauld said it is discussing a possible sale to London-based crypto lender Nexo while exploring potential restructuring options.
Faced with a surge in withdrawals and a hit from 3AC, crypto lender BlockFi signed an agreement with FTX on July 1 that provides BlockFi with a $400 million revolving credit facility and includes an option that allows FTX to buy the company for up to $240 million.
BlockFi was hit hard by the cryptocurrency crash and implemented several cost-cutting measures in June, including cutting staff by 20% and reducing executive compensation. The company was valued at $3 billion in a funding round last year.