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BlockFi CEO Faces Allegations of Risk Disregard, Contributing to Collapse Amid FTX

In this post:

  • BlockFi’s CEO, Zac Prince, reportedly disregarded risk management team recommendations regarding lending assets to Alameda Research, despite concerns about the high risks associated with the exposure.
  • Court filing suggests that BlockFi’s collapse was not solely triggered by the downfall of Alameda/FTX but rooted in earlier business practices and decisions.

Crypto lending firm BlockFi’s CEO, Zac Prince, allegedly ignored recommendations from the company’s risk management team regarding lending assets to Alameda Research, according to a recent court filing. The filing, made on July 14 with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey by the unsecured creditors’ committee, reveals that BlockFi had approximately $1.2 billion tied to FTX and Alameda when the firm filed for bankruptcy in November 2022.

BlockFi CEO Dismissed Risk Management Concerns 

BlockFi’s risk management team had reportedly raised concerns about the “high risks” associated with lending assets to Alameda. The team’s warnings specifically highlighted the potential risks if the FTX Token (FTT) were used to secure the loans needed to be liquidated. However, Prince allegedly dismissed these concerns and urged the risk team to become comfortable with Alameda being a borrower of significant size.

The court filing further disclosed that as early as August 2021, the platform’s risk management team was informed that Alameda’s balance sheet mainly consisted of approximately “7 billion unlocked FTT and 11 billion total including locked tokens based on unaudited financials.” This information raised alarms within BlockFi, but Prince dismissed the concerns raised by the team.

Disregard for Risk Management Recommendations and Expanding Exposure

After January 2022, BlockFi’s risk management team ceased issuing memos to Prince about the potential risks associated with lending to Alameda, shifting discussions to offline meetings and Slack channels. In these conversations, the CEO occasionally acknowledged the exposure but reportedly did not take substantial action to mitigate the risks.

When the platform filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2022, it disclosed having “significant exposure” to FTX and its associated entities. The company recalled its loans from Alameda in June 2022, and Alameda repaid its outstanding balance to almost zero. However, instead of severing ties, BlockFi proceeded to lend Alameda nearly $900 million between July and September 2022, with the loans predominantly collateralized by FTT.

The court filing emphasizes that while the downfall of Alameda/FTX may have triggered BlockFi’s collapse, the lending firm’s demise was primarily rooted in earlier business practices and decisions. BlockFi’s interconnectedness with FTX became even more apparent when FTX US secured a $400 million credit line from the platform in July 2022, further entangling the two companies during a challenging period for the crypto industry.

BlockFi Disagrees with Allegations, Claims Biased Report

In response to the court filing, a spokesperson for BlockFi stated that the firm disagreed with the committee’s report. BlockFi accused the committee of cherry-picking statements out of context, making errors on other matters, and failing to deliver the objective analysis promised.

While the company directly cited exposure to FTX as a contributing factor in its bankruptcy filing, the company now faces scrutiny over its risk management practices and decisions preceding the collapse. FTX’s practice of collateralized loans based on FTT tokens left many firms facing significant losses when the token’s price plummeted from over $25 to below $2 amid the Chapter 11 filing and reported liquidity issues.

Conclusion

Recent court filings reveal that BlockFi’s CEO, Zac Prince, allegedly disregarded warnings from the risk management team regarding lending assets to Alameda Research. Despite raised concerns about the high risks associated with lending to Alameda, Prince purportedly dismissed these warnings and urged his team to become comfortable with the borrower’s size. The court filing also highlights BlockFi’s decision to continue lending to Alameda, primarily collateralized by FTX Tokens (FTT), even after recalling previous loans.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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