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Crypto Lender Genesis Files for Bankruptcy as Crisis Spreads

(Bloomberg) -- Cryptocurrency lender Genesis Global Holdco LLC filed for bankruptcy, the latest firm to collapse in the aftermath of the FTX exchange’s swift downfall and last year’s rout in digital assets.

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The company, plus subsidiaries Genesis Global Capital LLC and Genesis Asia Pacific Pte, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Thursday in the Southern District of New York, court documents show. Genesis Global Capital listed the same range, $1 billion to $10 billion, for both assets and liabilities as well as over 100,000 creditors — the top 50 unsecured claims amount to about $3.4 billion.

Genesis’s plan is to use the Chapter 11 process to try to sell assets or raise money, with creditors ending up owning the reorganized business if those efforts are unsuccessful, a statement showed. The company intends to use $150 million of cash on hand to fund itself in bankruptcy. Chapter 11 allows a firm to continue operating while trying to work ways to repay creditors.

Parent company Digital Currency Group had been in confidential negotiations with various creditor groups amid a liquidity crunch. Genesis had warned that bankruptcy was possible if it failed to raise cash.

Genesis Global Trading and other units involved in derivatives and spot trading and custody businesses aren’t part of the bankruptcy filing.

EXPLAINER: How Serial Meltdowns Are Shaking Crypto’s Foundations

Financial pressure at Barry Silbert’s DCG began to emerge following the collapse of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital last year. Genesis’s lending unit suspended withdrawals in November, soon after FTX — where Genesis held some of its funds — filed for bankruptcy. Digital assets have shed about $2 trillion since a peak in 2021 and a slew of crypto lenders have struggled in the selloff.

Redemptions and loan originations at Genesis’s lending operation remain suspended and claims will be handled in bankruptcy court, according to the statement.

Silbert is locked in an escalating battle with Gemini crypto exchange co-founder Cameron Winklevoss, whose customers have lost access to $900 million of funds that were placed with Genesis.

Lawsuit Threat

Winklevoss said in a tweet after the filing that “unless Barry and DCG come to their senses and make a fair offer to creditors, we will be filing a lawsuit against Barry and DCG imminently.”

A Genesis spokesperson referred a request for comment back to the company’s statement. DCG didn’t immediately reply to an emailed request for comment sent outside regular business hours.

In January, Genesis laid off roughly 30% of its staff in the latest round of job cuts. Interim Chief Derar Islim earlier sent a letter to clients saying it needed “additional time” to come up with a solution for a liquidity crunch at the lending unit.

DCG, a linchpin of the crypto industry, said on Jan. 17 that it’s suspending quarterly dividends to preserve cash.

The group’s sprawling business includes digital-asset fund manager Grayscale Investments LLC. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, the world’s largest crypto fund, has been trading at a steep discount to the amount of cryptocurrency it holds, leading vexed shareholders to call for changes.

Digital-asset prices weakened a little as crypto markets absorbed the the developments. Bitcoin was little changed near $21,000 as of 6:47 a.m. in London after earlier advancing as much as 1.3%. The token is up 27% for 2023 so far, paring some of last year’s 64% rout.

For crypto market prices: CRYP; for top crypto news: TOP CRYPTO.

--With assistance from Vildana Hajric, Claire Boston and Sidhartha Shukla.

(Updates with more details from the filing from the second paragraph.)

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