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FTX’s $3.4B crypto liquidation: What it means for crypto markets

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The FTX bankruptcy lawsuit reached a key juncture in the second week of September after the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved the sale of $3.4 billion worth of crypto assets.

The court also approved $1.3 billion in brokerage and government-recovered assets as part of the liquidation process, with $2.6 billion in cash bringing the total tally to $7.1 billion in liquid assets.

Among the different cryptocurrencies set for liquidation, Solana (SOL) tops the pile with a value of $1.16 billion, and Bitcoin (BTC) is the second-largest asset held, valued at $560 million. 

Graph from a stakeholder update outlining the worth of assets based on Aug. 31 prices. Source: United States Bankruptcy Court

Other assets to be liquidated include $192 million in Ether (ETH), $137 million in Aptos (APT), $120 million in Tether (USDT), $119 million in XRP (XRP), $49 million in Biconomy Exchange Token (BIT), $46 million in Stargate Finance (STG), $41 million in Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) and $37 million in Wrapped Ethereum (WETH).

Bitcoin, Ether and insider-affiliated tokens can only be sold after giving a 10 days advance notice to U.S. trustees appointed by the Department of Justice. The court also permitted hedging options for these assets.

The allowance for hedging is significant because FTX can use various financial instruments, such as futures, options and perpetual swaps to offset the losses.

The ruling drew industry-wide attention due to the significant amount of crypto assets approved for sale, with many questioning the potential impact on the crypto market.

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Joshua Garcia, partner at Web3-focused legal firm Ketsal, told Cointelegraph that determining whether the liquidation was the right decision is challenging. He said that bankruptcy courts have to focus on what is good for creditors, and creditors may care more about the recovery of funds rather than a potential slump in the price of the assets being liquidated.

“Whether or not this decision impacts the token price is perhaps not the court’s primary concern. The potential or imagined market impact may mean nothing to a judge or creditors committee if it doesn’t make creditors whole, at least in the eyes of the court. The concern here is millions of users suffered substantial losses due to FTX’s actions. Making victims as whole as possible is the top priority.”

The discovery of billions of dollars of liquid assets also relieved many creditors in the case. 

Blake Harris, an asset protection attorney, believes unearthing liquid assets can be a game-changer in the FTX bankruptcy case. He told Cointelegraph that the newfound liquid assets “could offer more flexibility in asset management, allowing for a strategic approach that balances immediate legal requirements with broader market implications,” adding that “the discovery of such assets could provide some relief in terms of meeting immediate financial obligations, but it’s also essential to consider how these assets will be managed moving forward to prevent similar situations in the future.”

Market analysts predicted that Solana and Aptos prices have the highest chance of facing price volatility after liquidation based on each token’s daily trading volume.

FTX liquidation won’t risk a crypto market cascade

The bankruptcy court has taken measures to ensure that the liquidation of FTX assets won’t become a burden for the crypto market.

The court order permits FTX to sell digital assets through an investment adviser in weekly batches in accordance with pre-established rules. Galaxy Digital has been entrusted with liquidating the assets and maximizing returns for FTX’s creditors while ensuring market stability.

The court also permitted FTX “to utilize staking options available through their qualified custodians using their respective private validators if the Debtors determine in the reasonable exercise of their business judgment that such activities are in the best interests of their estates.”

In the first week, there will be a $50 million cap on the sale of assets, followed by a $100 million cap in the succeeding weeks. The cap can be increased up to $200 million per week with the previous written consent of the creditors’ committee and ad hoc committee after court approval.

Anthony Panebianco, a commercial business litigator, told Cointelegraph that legally, a court may permit a debtor to liquidate its assets “outside the normal scope of business” in order to maximize the value from the sale to repay creditors, adding:

“The interesting part is that the court took an additional step to look at the general marketplace for the assets it is granting liquidation of. That is, the court is looking at protecting both creditors and non-creditors of FTX by the manner in which it has ordered the liquidation process.” 

He also highlighted the different liquidation strategies for BTC and ETH. He said the “court-approved hedging arrangements for Bitcoin and Ether are subject to certain investment guidelines,” adding that “the court did not include Solana in these eligible assets for hedging arrangements, likely because of FTX’s large position in Solana. All three appear to be eligible for staking arrangements, again with oversight.”

Among all crypto assets held by FTX slated for liquidation, Solana became a major point of discussion owing to the $1.1 billion of the asset on the bankrupt crypto exchange’s balance sheet. According to market analysts, people considering a short position should be wary of the unlock period of the tokens held by FTX, with a complete unlock in 2028.

Looking at FTX’s SOL staking unlock schedule, a significant chunk of these tokens will slowly make their way to the market via linear vesting or scheduled unlocks until 2028, with the largest unlock scheduled for March 2025. Most of the SOL is locked in staking contracts. 

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The linear vesting program offers a simple mechanism to gradually release a token balance over certain periods.

Currently, only 24% of the total $1.16 billion SOL tokens have been unlocked. Apart from Solana, Aptos tokens are also 100% locked and will be unlocked in phases over the next few years.

Solana unlocking schedule. Source: An Ape’s Prologue/X

In its own analysis, Coinbase crypto exchange said that the scheduled and phased liquidation will keep the market stable, noting the strict controls in place for selling certain “insider-affiliated” tokens and a major part of FTX’s SOL holdings locked up until around 2025 due to the token’s vesting schedule. 

While many experts state that markets are more or less safe amid the FTX liquidation, the exchange’s saga is far from over, with former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team sparring with prosecutors for special conditions ahead of the trial.

Moreover, the exchange’s alleged illegal behavior has dealt a significant blow to public trust in the crypto ecosystem.


BTC price holds 6% gains as Bitcoin battles for ‘crucial’ $28K support

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Bitcoin (BTC) passing $28,000 hints at bullish sentiment, but reclaiming it for good is essential, analysis says.

In an X (formerly Twitter) post on Oct. 17, Yann Allemann and Jan Happel, co-founders of on-chain analytics firm Glassnode, described the $28,000 mark as a “critical milestone” for the BTC price.

Glassnode: “Keep an eye out” for $28,000

After snap volatility, which caused Bitcoin to hit $30,000 for the first time since August, the largest cryptocurrency has managed to preserve some of its gains.

At the time of writing, BTC/USD is circling $28,500, per data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView — still up around 6% since the weekly open.

For Allemann and Happel, the pair is now at a defining crossroads.

“The crypto market is hinged on BTC’s ability to breach and consistently maintain a value north of $28k,” part of their commentary stated.

$28,000 has formed a battleground ever since Bitcoin first crossed it in early 2021, and liquidity has traditionally surrounded it as bulls and bears fight to secure control over long-term trajectory.

Data from the trading suite DecenTrader, among others, confirms that the status quo remains despite recent BTC price moves, with $28,000 lying in a zone between major longs and shorts of varying leverage.

Bitcoin liquidity data. Source: DecenTrader

“While this pivotal milestone was momentarily attained on futures, the spot market price peaked at $27.98k earlier today. It’s evident just how crucial this price point is in the larger scheme,” Allemann and Happel added.

“The rapid movements and these price thresholds aren’t just numbers. They signify investor sentiment, market dynamics. Keep an eye out for the 28k level.”

BTC/USD 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Road to Bitcoin halving contested

As Cointelegraph reported, predictions over what the future will bring for Bitcoin both before and after its next block subsidy halving in April 2024 differ considerably.

Related: Mining BTC is harder than ever — 5 things to know in Bitcoin this week

In an interview last month, DecenTrader co-founder Filbfilb eyed BTC price galvanizing itself for upside during Q4, possibly reaching $46,000 by the halving.

Some well-known market participants, however, remain risk-averse. Among them, popular trader Crypto Tony and others are betting on a pre-halving return to $20,000 for a final local bottom.

“Many can scream they are long right now and caught that move, but if your not taking profit here at resistance your doing something wrong,” he told X subscribers about the recent surge.

“I personally will not be long unless we flip that $28,500 level into support.”

BTC/USD annotated chart. Source: Crypto Tony/X

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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Ripple job posting hints at possible IPO, XRP community says

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Fintech payments company Ripple released a new job posting on Oct. 16 for a shareholder communications senior manager across multiple locations in and outside the United States. The job posting prompted many crypto enthusiasts to label it as an official hint about the company’s plans to go public.

The job posting outlines that the role will require direct communication with shareholders — a concept generally associated with publicly traded companies. The chosen candidate would be responsible for developing and implementing communication and relationship management strategies for “existing and prospective investors, current shareholders, and financial analysts.”

The job description emphasizes the candidate’s need to create strategic plans specifically suited for situations like “M&A [mergers and acquisitions], investments, liquidity events, and other high-impact moments.“

The role includes creating investor-focused materials like “presentations, fact sheets, case studies, and analyses“ to inform and educate potential investors about the company’s prospects and performance — a necessary component of the initial public offering (IPO) preparation process. The responsibilities of the post also include maintaining a shareholder database and managing routine communications like quarterly updates.

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Many XRP (XRP) proponents and the pro-Ripple community on X (formerly Twitter) are referring to the job posting as a hint that there may be an IPO. Some key executives from the company have also alluded to the possibility that Ripple might go public but haven’t given any indication of timing.

The crypto-focused payments company has recently been in the limelight due to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) lawsuit alleging XRP is a security. Ripple scored a major win in the lawsuit in July when a judge ruled that XRP is not a security in terms of sale on digital asset exchanges.

Key Ripple executives have claimed that even though the SEC lawsuit has cost them many business opportunities in the U.S., most of its remittance business lies outside America.

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Banks’ crypto exposure must be disclosed — BIS’ Basel Committee

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The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) released a consultation paper on Oct. 17, proposing to make it compulsory for banks to disclose their crypto exposure.

The Basel Committee comprises central banks and financial authorities from 28 jurisdictions and is a forum for regulatory cooperation on banking supervisory matters. The latest consultation paper is based on the disclosure guidelines in the final prudential standard on how banks should handle their exposure to crypto assets released in December 2022.

The consultation paper aims to set a standardized “disclosure table and set of templates for banks’ crypto-asset exposures,” with a proposed implementation date of Jan. 1, 2025. The Basel Committee has opened the proposal for public comment until Jan. 31, 2024, after which the results will be published on its website.

Under the new proposed regulations, banks would be required to provide quantitative data on exposures to crypto assets and the corresponding capital and liquidity requirements. Banks would also be required to offer qualitative data on their activities linked to cryptocurrencies.

Additionally, banks would be required to offer information on the accounting classifications of their exposure to crypto assets and liabilities. In its proposal, the committee claimed that using a uniform disclosure format will encourage the application of market discipline and lessen information asymmetry between banks and market participants.

Related: Ripple joins BIS cross-border payments task force

The committee also reviewed crypto assets and bank exposure in June. At the time, the committee didn’t delve deeply into the topic, mentioning only that it was focusing on permissionless blockchains and the eligibility criteria for “Group 1” stablecoins.

The BIS has been actively involved in crypto consultations and examining the regulatory aspect of decentralized technology. Recently, the BIS and a handful of European central banks published details of a concept to develop a system to track international flows of cryptocurrencies.

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