FEB 9, 2024
Settlement approved but sealed by judge in BlockFi-3AC case
A settlement agreement between failed crypto lender BlockFi and bankrupt Singaporean crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC) has received approval from a U.S. judge. However, the specifics of the settlement remain sealed, citing concerns raised by yet another failed crypto platform, FTX.
During a hearing on Feb. 6, New Jersey Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Kaplan resolved the dispute, which saw BlockFi claiming $129 million owed by 3AC, while the Singapore-based firm contended that BlockFi owed it $280 million.
Judge Kaplan’s decision to keep the settlement agreement sealed stemmed from a perspective that unsealing it would be counterintuitive. BlockFi had filed a motion to seal the settlement terms last month. The U.S. Trustee objected to the seal, asserting that the debtors hadn’t provided sufficient justification for sealing the agreement.
Sensitive settlement terms
BlockFi justified the need for confidentiality, citing the sensitive commercial nature of the terms, which could potentially impact ongoing litigation involving FTX. The approval of the settlement now paves the way for BlockFi to proceed with distributions from the lending estate to its 100,000 creditors, with the firm owing up to $10 billion.
Central to the dispute were preferential payments, transactions made just before bankruptcy that could have given the recipient more than they would have received through court proceedings. The resolution of counterclaims between BlockFi and 3AC follows mediation ordered by Judge Kaplan in October, likely culminating from a two-day hearing starting on Jan. 5 aimed at resolving the matter conclusively.
This settlement follows another agreement between 3AC and Genesis, settling $1 billion in claims by 3AC. The company filed for bankruptcy in July 2022, attributing the extreme fluctuations in cryptocurrency markets as the reason for its collapse.
Projected 46% 3AC creditor recovery
According to a December report to creditors by Teneo, it’s estimated that 3AC creditors will receive approximately 45.74% of their claims from the bankrupt estate. As of Dec. 18, 2023, 3AC’s assets were valued at $1.16 billion, while recognized claims for distribution stood at $2.7 billion.
In an ongoing effort to secure 3AC’s assets, a British Virgin Islands (BVI) court froze $1 billion in assets belonging to 3AC’s founders, amid the liquidation process. This move is part of a broader strategy to seek recoveries from the founders and Kelly Chen, wife of one of the co-founders.
154 claims totaling $3.4 billion were filed against the 3AC estate, with $200 million not admitted for distribution and $322 million rejected or expected to be rejected. Additionally, claims worth $76 million are currently under dispute.
BlockFi, along with eight affiliates, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2022. The firm cited significant exposure, including obligations owed to BlockFi by FTX-linked hedge fund Alameda Research, assets on the FTX platform and an undrawn credit line from FTX.
3AC’s collapse in June 2022, followed by FTX’s downfall, led to BlockFi’s bankruptcy filing in late November 2022. In a separate development, OPNX, a crypto bankruptcy claims platform launched by 3AC co-founders Su Zhu and Kyle Davies, announced its cessation of operations, with plans to shut down by Feb. 14.