The new FTX CEO and chief restructuring officer (CRO), John J. Ray III, conducted his first interview since the company filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 11, 2022. Ray told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that there may be value in restarting the crypto exchange and stressed that “everything is on the table.” Ray’s interview followed a recent press release and presentation by the bankruptcy team and FTX debtors, which were published to inform the committee of unsecured creditors.
“If there is a path forward on [rebooting FTX], then we will not only explore that, we’ll do it,” Ray told the publication.
The presentation given to the committee of unsecured creditors showed that $5.5 billion in what are referred to as “liquid assets” have been discovered. However, the definition of “liquid” as it applies to the stash of locked SOL and cache of FTX token (FTT) is debatable. In addition to the $5.5 billion discovered, the bankruptcy team detailed that another $4.5 billion could be obtained by selling subsidiaries and marketing FTX’s real estate in The Bahamas. Ray said that there are stakeholders the debtors are working with who “have identified what they see as a viable business.”
New FTX CEO Addresses Tensions with Former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, Criticizes Inner Circle’s ‘Spending Spree’
Ray also talked about the former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), as it’s been reported that the new CEO of FTX has kept his distance from the disgraced FTX co-founder. “We don’t need to be dialoguing with him,” Ray told the WSJ. “He hasn’t told us anything that I don’t already know.” However, The WSJ got a response from SBF, who called Ray’s commentary “shocking.”
“This is a shocking and damning comment from someone pretending to care about customers,” SBF told the WSJ. Ray sees things differently than SBF and the chief restructuring officer even criticized the co-founder’s Excel balance sheet theory. “This is the problem,” Ray told the WSJ interviewer. “He thinks everything is one big honey pot.
Ray disclosed that he had not seen anything like FTX during his entire career of restructuring companies. “They went on a spending spree,” Ray stressed. “Sometimes there were no purchase agreements, or the agreements weren’t signed,” the FTX CEO added. Once again, SBF denied the claims Ray made about the co-founder thinking things are akin to one big honey pot.
“Mr. Ray continues to make false statements based on nonexistent calculations,” SBF told the WSJ in a text message. “If Mr. Ray had bothered to think carefully about FTX US, he would likely have realized both that his interpretation is wholly inconsistent with bankruptcy law, and also that even if one were to subtract $250m from my balance sheet, FTX US would *still* have been solvent.”
Rather, Mr. Ray sees everything as one big honey pot—one he wants to keep.
Ray does not see eye-to-eye with SBF at all and despite the FTX co-founder saying on countless occasions that he’d like to be helpful to creditors, Ray believes that SBF is being misleading, and causing more harm than good. Noting that SBF’s text message statements are false, Ray insisted that it is “unfortunate because people are continuing to be victims right now.” The new FTX CEO added: “They are victims of misinformation…It’s harmful.”
FTX’s exchange token, FTT, jumped in value on news stemming from Ray and his belief that there may be a possibility of reviving the defunct trading platform. FTT skyrocketed by 35%, reaching $2.48 per unit, after it was trading for $1.71 per unit before Ray’s interview was published.
What do you think about Ray’s first interview since starting the FTX restructuring process? Share your thoughts in the comments below.