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Voyager Digital files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

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Popular cryptocurrency lender Voyager Digital declared bankruptcy late Tuesday, becoming the second high-profile crypto-firm to do so in recent days. Voyager, based in Toronto, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday. It estimates that it has more than 100,000 creditors and assets worth between $1 and $10 billion. The same range was also recorded for its liabilities.

Re-organization is typically allowed under Chapter 11, and it usually involves a corporation or partnership. A chapter 11 debtor typically offers a re-organization plan to continue operating its firm and pay creditors over time. According to a statement, the firm anticipates that “funds will be available for distribution to unsecured creditors.”

So, what really happened?

On 24 June, Voyager had claimed to have around $137 million in cash and crypto-assets in its possession. The company disclosed the following Monday that it had hired investment bank Moelis & Company as financial consultants and used $75 million of Alameda’s loan to enable customer orders and withdrawals. According to insiders, however, Alameda Ventures does not anticipate recovering that money.

The filing comes at a time when industry observers are closely examining Voyager’s business practices. Specifically, how the Canada-listed company stated in marketing materials that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) safeguarded investors’ deposits.

Although bank-held cash deposits up to a limit of $250,000 would be protected by FDIC insurance, funds that have been converted to stablecoins would not be covered.

Additionally, FDIC protection kicks in if a bank fails (in this case, Metropolitan Bank of New York, which banked Voyager). There is no back-up plan in case Voyager breaks down.

What is the toll on the rest of the market?

In recent weeks, several cryptocurrency businesses and lenders, in particular, have encountered solvency concerns. These have prevented clients from withdrawing their money. With its announcement to halt withdrawals in mid-June, Celsius started this trend last month. 

Recent days have seen withdrawal limitations or outright halts declared by CoinLoan, CoinFLEX, and Voyager itself. Voyager files for bankruptcy alongside Three Arrows Capital.

Here, it’s worth pointing out that 3AC submitted a Chapter 15 petition. This was in connection with an ongoing liquidation procedure that was mandated by a British Virgin Islands court.

When Tuesday closed, Voyager’s stock, already damaged by the collapse of the cryptocurrency market, was trading at 27 cents. This suggested a market capitalization of 65 million Canadian dollars (about $50 million).

According to the aforementioned bankruptcy filings, that is less than the $75 million in unsecured loans made by Alameda Research. The stock was trading above $20 in November of last year, but it dropped below $1 last month.

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Jibin Mathew George is Editor-in-Chief at AMBCrypto. A domain expert in International Relations (European Politics), he has always been a believer in the unlimited possibilities afforded by blockchain and by extension, cryptocurrencies. As someone who has been watching and writing about this space for over 5 years now, Jibin has closely tracked the emergence of cryptos and digital assets as a separate asset class in portfolios world over. A lawyer by training, he previously contributed to the News and Research desk of Diplomacy & Beyond Plus. Before his stint at D&B, he was Editor at ED Times. Jibin also takes a great interest in politics, especially the corresponding effect political decisions and fiscal policy have on the world of finance, with a special focus on cryptocurrencies.
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