Sam Bankman-Fried steps down as FTX CEO as his crypto exchange files for bankruptcy

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Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and chief executive officer of FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange, during an interview on an episode of Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein in New York, US, on Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022.

Jeenah Moon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange FTX has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S., according to a company statement posted on Twitter. Bankman-Fried has also stepped down as CEO and has been replaced by John J. Ray III, though the outgoing chief will stay on to assist with the transition.

Approximately 130 additional affiliated companies are part of the proceedings, including Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried’s crypto trading firm, and FTX.us, the company’s U.S. subsidiary.

In the 23-page bankruptcy filing obtained by CNBC, FTX indicates that it has more than 100,000 creditors, assets in the range of $10 billion to $50 billion, as well as liabilities in the range of $10 billion to $50 billion. Bankman-Fried also indicated that he wishes to appoint Stephen Neal as the firm’s new chairman of the board.

CNBC reached out to Adam Landis, founding partner of Landis Rath & Cobb LLP, who filed the Chapter 11 proceedings on behalf of FTX. CNBC did not immediately hear back to our request for comment.

“The immediate relief of Chapter 11 is appropriate to provide the FTX Group the opportunity to assess its situation and develop a process to maximize recoveries for stakeholders,” said the new FTX chief, Ray.

“The FTX Group has valuable assets that can only be effectively administered in an organized, joint process. I want to ensure every employee, customer, creditor, contract party, stockholder, investor, governmental authority and other stakeholder that we are going to conduct this effort with diligence, thoroughness and transparency,” continued Ray.

He added that stakeholders should understand that events have been fast-moving, that the new team is engaged only recently and that they should review the materials filed on the docket of the proceedings over the coming days for more information.

It caps off a tumultuous week for one of the biggest names in the sector.

In the space of days, FTX went from a $32 billion valuation to bankruptcy as liquidity dried up, customers demanded withdrawals, and rival exchange Binance ripped up its nonbinding agreement to buy the company. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried admitted on Thursday that he “f—ed up.”

Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital and short-time Trump communications director, flew to the Bahamas this week to help Bankman-Fried as an investor and friend. When he got there, he says, it appeared beyond the point of a simple liquidity rescue. He said he didn’t see evidence of this mishandling when he and other investors first screened FTX as a potential business partner.

“Duped I guess is the right word, but I am very disappointed because I do like Sam,” Scaramucci said on CNBC’s Squawk Box Friday morning. “I don’t know what happened because I was not an insider at FTX.”

An FTX spokesperson did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on this story, including on Scaramucci’s remarks.

The Chapter 11 proceedings exclude the following subsidiaries: LedgerX LLC, FTX Digital Markets Ltd., FTX Australia Pty Ltd., and FTX Express Pay Ltd.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

CNBC’s Jack Stebbins and Lillian Rizzo contributed to this report.





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