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Bitfinex CTO says the company successfully raised nearly $1 billion in a private token sale

Larry Cermak
Crypto exchange Bitfinex announced Friday that it plans to enable trading of its new exchange token LEO on May 20.To start, it will be tradable against BTC, USD, USDt, EOS, and ETH.The post Bitfinex's LEO token is going to start trading on the exchange next week appeared first on The Block.

Paolo Ardoino, the CTO of beleaguered crypto exchange Bitfinex, confirmed on Twitter that the firm has raised nearly 1 billion in USDT and USD from a private token sale. The issuance of the exchange tokens, dubbed LEO, was planned to cover the $850 million currently frozen in several accounts controlled by the payment processing company Crypto Capital, which is at the heart of a recent court order issued by the New York Attorney General's office against the firm. The NYAG alleges that Bitfinex co-mingled client funds and borrowed money from sister company Tether to cover-up the seized funds. 

As for the sale, the firm was able to close the sale of the tokens in 10 days, issuing to large private investors. The firm only planned to open the sale to the public if there was any allocation left. 

Ardoino said: "Private companies, giants in our industry and outside, made investments for >100m each. A legion of inside and outside users made investments for >1m each." Ardoino thinks that Bitfinex was able to raise as much because private investors consider Bitfinex to be trustworthy and because "they want us keep fighting for the industry whole."

Ardoino said the firm still has a small number of tokens left to sell, hinting that it might offer those in a public sale. 

"There is a small allocation left and we just prefer to share to small investors until there is time," he said. "We have a request from few big buyers to buy the few millions left once we close it. But we believed it’s more fair to give opportunity to a larger audience."

Ardoino also said the firm, which has long been plagued by banking issues, wants to become more transparent about its business.

"We’re working with Tether to make our banking more transparent," he wrote.