FTX CEO says he’s considering restarting the exchange: Report

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John Ray, who took charge of cryptocurrency exchange FTX before 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 everything was “on the table” regarding the future of FTX.com, including a potential way forward with the restart of the exchange. FTX Trading, doing business as FTX.com, was one of approximately 130 FTX Group companies that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2022.

Ray reportedly considered reviving the crypto exchange as part of efforts to make users whole. FTX reported on Jan. 17 that it identified approximately $5.5 billion in liquid assets in its investigations, including more than $3 billion owed to its top 50 creditors. According to the CEO of FTX, he took into account feedback from some stakeholders who considered the exchange a “viable business”.

The collapse of FTX and the ensuing criminal charges for many of its executives have caused repercussions in the crypto space in 2022. Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang , pleaded guilty to fraud charges, while Ray’s predecessor, Sam Bankman-Fried, has largely denied many of the allegations against him. He has pleaded not guilty and is due in court in October for his trial.

Related: US authorities launch page to notify alleged FTX victims of SBF case

Ray was reportedly aided by Wang and Ellison in tracking down some of the company’s assets, but he frequently traded barbs with Bankman-Fried. The former CEO claimed he was pressured by law firm Sullivan & Crowell and FTX’s US General Counsel to appoint Ray as head of FTX before the company went bankrupt. Ray also said Bankman-Fried no longer had any role in the stock market and could not speak on his behalf.

“We don’t need to engage with him,” Ray reportedly said, referring to Bankman-Fried. “He didn’t tell us anything that I didn’t already know.”

SBF said in a Jan. 12 post on a “pre-mortem preview” of FTX that if the exchange were to “reboot,” it might be possible to refund customers with assets in hand. The bankruptcy team and Bankman-Fried are publicly at odds over approaches to calculating FTX’s balance sheet, with the former CEO saying FTX US was “fully solvent.”