John Ray, who took over as CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX prior to bankruptcy proceedings, has reportedly set up a task force to consider restarting FTX.com.
According to a Jan. 19 report from The Wall Street Journal, Ray said that everything was “on the table” when it came to the future of FTX.com, including a potential path forward with rebooting the exchange. FTX Trading, doing business as FTX.com, was one of roughly 130 companies under FTX Group that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November.
Ray reportedly was considering reviving the crypto exchange as part of efforts to make users whole. FTX reported on Jan. 17 that it had identified roughly $5.5 billion of liquid assets in its investigations, with more than $3 billion owed to its top 50 creditors. According to the FTX CEO, he considered feedback from some stakeholders who saw the exchange as a “viable business.”
The collapse of FTX and subsequent criminal charges for many of its executives sent ripples through the crypto space in 2022. Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang have pleaded guilty to fraud charges, while Ray’s predecessor, Sam Bankman-Fried, has largely denied the allegations against him. He pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to appear in court in October for his trial.
Ray was reportedly assisted by Wang and Ellison in tracking down some of the company’s assets, but he has frequently traded barbs with Bankman-Fried. The former CEO claimed he had been pressured by law firm Sullivan & Crowell and the FTX US general counsel into naming Ray as the head of FTX prior to the firm’s bankruptcy. Ray has also said Bankman-Fried no longer has any role at the exchange and cannot speak on its behalf.
“We don’t need to be dialoguing with him,” Ray reportedly said, referring to Bankman-Fried. “He hasn’t told us anything that I don’t already know.”
SBF said in a Jan. 12 post on a “pre-mortem overview” of FTX that if the exchange were to “reboot,” it might be possible to reimburse customers with assets on hand. The team handling the bankruptcy proceedings and Bankman-Fried have publicly disagreed on approaches calculating FTX’s balance sheet, with the former CEO claiming that FTX US was “fully solvent.”