The Securities Commission of the Bahamas has revealed that it seized digital assets worth more than $3.5 billion from the collapsed crypto exchange FTX. The regulator explained that the cryptocurrencies were transferred to its wallets “for safekeeping” and “are being held by the Commission on a temporary basis.”
Bahamas Regulator Seizes FTX’s Cryptocurrencies
The Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB) said Thursday that it has obtained a court order to transfer the digital assets owned by, or under the custody or control of, FTX Digital Markets Ltd. (FTXDM) to its secure wallets. FTX Digital Markets is the Bahamian subsidiary of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX Trading Ltd., which owned and operated the crypto trading platform FTX.com.
The regulator wrote that on Nov. 12:
The Commission … took the action of directing the transfer of all digital assets under the custody or control of FTXDM or its principals, valued at more than US$3.5 billion, based on market pricing at the time of transfer, to digital wallets controlled by the Commission, for safekeeping.
The Commission added that it is exercising “its powers as regulator acting under the authority of an order made by the Supreme Court of the Bahamas.” The regulator stressed that the process did not “involve the creation of any additional tokens.”
The seized cryptocurrencies “are being held by the Commission on a temporary basis, until such time as the Bahamas Supreme Court directs the Commission to deliver them to the customers and creditors who own them, or to the JPLs [Joint Provisional Liquidators] to be administered under rules governing the insolvency estate for the benefit of the customers and creditors of FTXDM,” the regulator clarified.
The Securities Commission noted that the seizure was conducted “under a sealing order requested by the Commission and granted by the Supreme Court of the Bahamas” on Nov. 16. The regulator reiterated that contrary to some media reports:
The Commission did not in any way direct, authorize, or suggest to FTXDM the prioritization of withdrawals for Bahamian clients.
FTX filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11 and an estimated one million customers and investors lost billions of dollars. The U.S. government and regulators have filed multiple fraud charges against the crypto firm and Bankman-Fried. The former FTX CEO was arrested in the Bahamas and extradited to the U.S. last week. He is currently at his parents’ house in Palo Alto, California, on a $250 million bond.
However, FTX disputed the claims by the Securities Commission of the Bahamas Friday that the regulator is holding $3.5 billion of FTX assets. FTX argued that the value of the cryptocurrency at the time of transfer was approximately $296 million.
Editor’s Note (Dec. 30 at 9:12 p.m. EST): This article has been updated to include FTX’s dispute that the regulator is holding $3.5 billion.
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