In 2018, Stephen Ehrlich, Philip Eytan, and Gaspard de Dreuzy founded the company Voyager Digital Ltd. The business offered custody and brokerage services for cryptocurrencies. In 2021, the company's value peaked at over $3 billion.
Following Three Arrows Capital's default on a sizable loan position last summer, Voyager Digital filed for bankruptcy. The company's assets were auctioned off, and FTX was on the brink of acquiring it. However, FTX also collapsed, with Voyager Digital already in talks with Binance.US. Read more about these events in our article on the battle for Voyager Digital.
Recently, Voyager Digital experienced a major issue that might prevent the finalization of its deal with Binance.US. On March 17, the Government of the United States of America filed an emergency request to suspend the deal between the two companies. Despite a counter motion from Voyager Digital Holdings, Inc. and its affiliated debtors, and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, on March 23, District Judge of the Southern District of New York Jennifer H. Rearden granted the government's appeal. The deal was effectively frozen.
The deal to purchase Voyager Digital assets has attracted a lot of governmental and regulatory attention. Binance.US offered more than $1 billion for assets of the bankrupted company, with the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS or NYSDFS) and The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opposing the deal. The SEC expressed concern about the Voyager token VGX and the security of user assets, and the DFS emphasized Voyager Digital's lack of licenses to do business in New York State. Letitia James, Attorney General of the State of New York, echoed the DFS in a statement.
“To date, the Department has not licensed any of the Debtors to conduct virtual currency business activities in New York State or with New York consumers. The Debtors currently have pending with the Department applications for Voyager Digital New York, LLC, which the Department understands to be a not-yet operational member of the Voyager family of companies, to become licensed as both a virtual currency business and a money transmission business in New York.” – The New York State Department of Financial Services.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also opposed the deal, claiming that Voyager Digital and its employees did not deserve to be discharged of liability after deal completion. The FTC has also launched its own investigation into the company's deceptive and unfair marketing practices. However, the results of the investigation have not yet been made public.
“The Debtors’ Proposed Plan should not be confirmed because it impermissibly seeks to give the Debtors a discharge to which they are not legally entitled. The FTC respectfully requests the Court deny confirmation of the Proposed Plan or strike the releases and injunctive provisions. <…> The FTC has commenced an investigation into certain acts and practices of Debtors and Debtors’ employees, directors, and officers, for their deceptive and unfair marketing of cryptocurrency to the public. <…> The Proposed Plan cannot be confirmed because it violates the Bankruptcy Code and relevant case law.” – The Federal Trade Commission.
While Judge Michael Wiles approved the deal between Voyager Digital and Binance.US, citing lack of evidence that “Binance.US will misuse customer assets, or that it cannot be trusted”, the US Department of Justice has filed an appeal against the judge's decision.
Users of Voyager Digital have not yet received their money back because the deal hasn't been finalized. It is quite possible that the transaction is being slowed down and has attracted the attention of the government and regulatory authorities, because Binance.US is set to acquire Voyager Digital's assets. Although Binance.US is a separate from Binance due to it operating within the U.S. market, the connection may still alarm the U.S. government and regulatory authorities due to recent events related to CZ and Binance. We continue to Observe the latest developments and keep you informed.