August 18, 2022

Crypto Broker Voyager Files For Bankruptcy Protection

A US crypto broker has filed for bankruptcy protection. This makes the latest domino to fall in the embattled digital asset market.

Voyager Digital had suspended all withdrawals and trading last week. However, the it said that “volatility and contagion” in the crypto markets had forced it into a Chapter 11 filing. This chapter shields a business from creditors while it explores strategic alternatives.

The cryptocurrency market has slumped since its $3tn (£2.5tn) peak last November to less than $1tn. The decline accelerated in May when a multibillion dollar cryptocurrency, Terra, collapsed.

Other Crypto Firms Took A Hit

The ensuing market rout triggered difficulties at a crypto-focused hedge fund, Three Arrows Capital. The hedge fund owed money to Voyager and last week was lined up for liquidation.

The prolonged volatility and contagion in the crypto markets over the past few months, and the default of Three Arrows Capital on a loan from the company’s subsidiary, Voyager Digital LLC, require us to take deliberate and decisive action now,” Voyager’s chief executive, Stephen Ehrlich, said.

In its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on Tuesday, Voyager, based in New Jersey, estimated that it had more than 100,000 creditors. In addition to that, it also claimed to have between $1bn and $10bn in assets, and liabilities worth the same value.

The Root Of Voyager’s Problems

Voyager is a crypto firm that offers broking services. They find the best prices for cryptocurrencies that customers want to buy or sell. They are also involved with borrowing digital assets from customers in exchange for yields of up to 12%, and then lending them out.

Carol Alexander, professor of finance at the University of Sussex business school, said Voyager’s troubles were part of a crypto credit crisis, but argued that it was “not a bad thing at this stage”.

During the latest bitcoin bubble, firms offering unsustainable yields have proliferated too rapidly.” she said. “The shakedown we are witnessing now is welcomed by most authentic advocates of the digital asset ecosystem.”

A filing with the bankruptcy court serving the southern district of New York showed that Alameda Research was Voyager‘s largest single creditor, with unsecured loans of $75m.

Crypto Hedge Fund, Three Arrows Vs Voyager

Last week, Voyager said it had issued a notice of default to the Singapore-based crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital. The notice of default was for failing to make required payments on a loan of 15,250 bitcoins (approximately $324m) and $350m worth of USDC, and stablecoins. Later, the hedge fund filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy, which allows foreign debtors to shield US assets from creditors.

Cryptocurrency is the term for a group of digital assets that share the same underlying structure as bitcoin. They are used under a publicly available “blockchain” that records ownership without having any central authority in control. Bitcoin is the cornerstone digital asset, worth more than a third of the $900bn cryptocurrency market. However, its value has slumped since November from almost $69,000 to $20,000.

The sector’s supporters have said it represents a good investment. Why? because, for instance, it carries low fees and, unlike conventional currencies, is not tied to governments. Its detractors say a lack of regulatory oversight or implicit make it susceptible to scams and wild fluctuations in price.

Currently, many of these supporters who are also investors are at a crossroad. Most of them who trade these coins are wondering if the dip will dip further. Others have decided to opt out completely and sell off. 

However, an optimistic majority believe that the crypto industry will eventually bounce back.

Augustine Ojeh

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