If losing money when a crypto business goes bankrupt isn't bad enough, the long-winded process for reclaiming (a portion of) those funds can be even worse for victims. However, there does appear to be some progress in the redistribution of assets from certain high-profile collapses.
Former Mt.Gox customers have reported receiving e-mails stating that the exchange they had chosen for receiving repayments had confirmed that they own a verified account. The e-mails also claim that the recipients will receive repayment in BTC or BCH to the indicated exchange. Some of the users have also received e-mails from their exchanges asking to verify their accounts in order to receive funds related to the Mt.Gox distribution. The user reaction was lively but mixed:
“I smiled for the first time in 10 years,” replied one user, while another noted: “Don't fret! There is more opportunity for further delays due to the accounts that will inevitably not be able to be confirmed. Plenty more chances to extend the deadline!”
Mt.Gox was handling over 70% of all Bitcoin transactions worldwide when it collapsed in 2014 affecting nearly 24,000 customers. The company claimed it had lost almost 750,000 of its customers' bitcoin and around 100,000 of its own due to a hack. The investigation of the hack is still ongoing: last Summer, two Russians were accused of stealing funds from the exchange.
The Mt. Gox trustee first announced in 2021 that the creditors had approved a rehabilitation plan, although the exchange allegedly had only around 150,000 BTC to pay its creditors. The initial schedule was delayed significantly, but according to the latest announcement, the early payout deadline is now scheduled for October 31, 2024. Last December, we observed the first funds received by Mt. Gox creditors after almost 10 years of waiting. However, even this didn’t run smoothly and was tarnished by accidental duplicate payments to some users.
The bankrupt crypto lender Celsius has recently moved large amounts of Ethereum to centralized exchanges. The largest transaction accounted for 443,961 ETH or over $1 billion at the time of writing. In total, Celsius has moved 757,626 ETH to FalconX, Coinbase, OKX, and Paxos. According to the Celsius Distribution FAQ, the Effective Date is expected to occur on or around January 31, 2024. Celsius creditors expect the distribution of liquid crypto to start in mid-February.
The crypto lender paused all transfers and withdrawals due to "extreme market conditions” in June 2022 and filed for bankruptcy one month later. Celsius first started withdrawals for select users last March, allowing eligible owners of deposit accounts to get back some of their funds. At the end of November, the company again opened withdrawals for some groups of creditors pursuant to the custody settlement, allowing them to retrieve 72.5% of their cryptocurrency holdings minus transaction fees. At the beginning of this year, Celsius started “the process of recalling and rebalancing assets” and began to unstake its Ether holdings in preparation for “timely distributions to creditors.” Earlier this month, the company started reclaiming user funds subject to withdrawal preference exposure.
Unfortunately, FTX hasn’t come to a proper agreement with its former clients yet. According to the plan of reorganisation proposed in December 2023, the exchange wants to repay its creditors in dollars with the values calculated at prices on the day FTX filed for bankruptcy in November 2022. The customers argue that it would cause major losses for them as the crypto market has significantly rebounded since the collapse, and creditors have submitted multiple objections. The court hearing to rule on the proposed plan and customers’ objections is scheduled for January 31.
Generally, the forecast now seems relatively positive for Mt. Gox and Celsius customers. Meanwhile, FTX creditors will have to fight more to get their funds back at a fair rate. We will continue to Observe.