In a race to acquire the remnants of the once-leading cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Bullish, Figure Technologies, and Proof Group are among the top contenders in an ongoing auction. The news broke today as insiders reported the competition between these three firms. FTX, founded by Sam Bankman-Fried, had captured significant market share in its prime. The successful bidder could potentially revive FTX post its planned exit from bankruptcy in 2024.
The auction comes in the aftermath of FTX’s bankruptcy and co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s fraud conviction. Over 75 bidders have been approached with Bullish, led by ex-NYSE president Tom Farley, Figure Technologies, and Noah Jessop’s Proof Group emerging as finalists. A decision is expected by December.
This development comes at a time when the crypto market is witnessing an upswing. Bitcoin’s valuation has escalated from nearly $17,000 in January to about $35,000 this month. Centralized exchanges have experienced a 53% surge in trading volumes since September, reaching $2.57 trillion in October, encompassing both crypto derivatives and spot trading.
FTX had reached a monumental valuation of $32 billion in January 2022. However, embezzlement by founder Sam Bankman-Fried led to the collapse of FTX and his subsequent conviction on all fraud charges in November 2022. An estimated $9 billion of customer deposits remain missing.
In December 2022, Bullish, guided by former NYSE President Tom Farley, backed out of a planned $9 billion public merger deal. In early 2023, Figure Technologies, co-founded by ex-SoFi CEO Mike Cagney, was unsuccessful in acquiring bankrupt crypto lender Celsius while Proof Group emerged victorious in the Celsius auction.
As the crypto industry anticipates a potential approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF, similar market surge is expected as witnessed between January and April 2021 when Bitcoin’s price soared from around $30,000 at the end of January to over $63,000 in April.
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