The Bahamas seized $3.5 billion of FTX’s digital assets after Sam Bankman-Fried warned of cyberattacks against the bankrupt crypto exchange

December 30, 2022, 7:56 AM UTC
Sam Bankman-Fried leaving his bail hearing
The Bahamas took custody of FTX's digital assets after former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried warned of possible cyberattacks against the bankrupt crypto exchange.
David Dee Delgado—Getty Images

Bahamian authorities took control of $3.5 billion worth of digital assets at FTX Digital Markets shortly after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection based on information provided by founder Sam Bankman-Fried, according to a statement on Dec. 29.

The Bahamian Securities Commission seized the digital assets of FTX, valued at more than $3.5 billion as of Nov. 12, citing a risk of “imminent dissipation” of the assets due to concerns flagged by Bankman-Fried that included cyberattacks against the exchange, the regulator said in the statement. 

Within hours after FTX filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11, about $372 million worth of tokens were stolen from the exchange, according to bankruptcy filings. FTX saw nearly $700 million of token outflows within a 24 hour span, according to blockchain research firm Nansen.

The Bahamian Securities Commission said the digital assets are under its “exclusive control” on a temporary basis until the country’s Supreme Court allows the regulator to return those back to the customers and creditors who own them or to the joint liquidators. That could provide relief to some FTX customers after its current chief executive John J Ray III overseeing the restructuring warned that the international customers could lose more funds than U.S. peers. 

Bahamian authorities are scrutinizing the web of relationships between bankrupt, which is registered locally as FTX Digital Markets Ltd., and its trading firm Alameda Research.

The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a criminal probe into the stolen assets which is separate from the fraud case against Bankman-Fried, Bloomberg news reported.

The Bahamian Supreme Court suggested the Commission should lawfully assist in sharing information related to digital assets of FTX with U.S. debtors and their representatives, the regulator added.

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