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FTX crypto exchange restart plan draws possible bid From tribe capital

Founded in 2018, Tribe was a venture investor in both FTX, the international exchange, and FTX US, the American entity


Photo: Bloomberg


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By Yueqi Yang and Jeremy Hill

FTX’s potential plan to reboot its crypto exchange has attracted interest from Tribe Capital, a venture firm that invested in the platform before FTX collapsed and is now considering a fresh capital injection to jump-start the effort.
Tribe co-founder Arjun Sethi met with FTX’s committee of unsecured creditors in January to discuss the informal proposal, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential talks. Tribe is considering leading a $250 million fund-raising campaign, anchored by $100 million from itself and its limited partners, one of the people said. 

Founded in 2018, Tribe was a venture investor in both FTX, the international exchange, and FTX US, the American entity. With more than $1.6 billion under management, the San Francisco-based firm invests in a range of startups, including crypto platform Kraken, payments firm Bolt, and e-commerce vendor Shiprocket. 

John J. Ray III, FTX’s new chief executive officer, aims to decide in the second quarter whether a restart is feasible, according to a presentation in bankruptcy court. FTX attorney Andrew G. Dietderich said during a hearing last week that the company is still in the early stages of assessing the idea, and that a restart would require a significant amount of cash, which may come from third-party investors. 

Tribe’s proposal in January included an estimated 9 million customer accounts, FTX US, FTX Australia, FTX Japan, FTX EU, FTX International and LedgerX, while excluding a venture capital portfolio and crypto assets, among others, the people said. The new exchange would continue to use the FTX name.

Representatives for Tribe, FTX’s current management and its committee of unsecured creditors declined to comment.

FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried’s digital-asset empire, fell into bankruptcy in November, leaving creditors with at least $11.6 billion of claims and destabilizing an entire market. Bankman-Fried awaits trial in October after pleading not guilty to fraud and campaign-finance law charges. 

Any effort to reboot the exchange would face significant regulatory and compliance challenges. Ray, who has for decades steered companies including Enron Corp. through bankruptcy, called FTX the worst failure of corporate controls he had ever seen.

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First Published: Apr 18 2023 | 11:00 PM IST

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