Failed cryptocurrency exchange giant FTX has said it owes its 50 biggest creditors nearly US$3.1 billion (S$4.2 billion), with around US$1.45 billion (S$2 billion) owed to its top ten creditors.

FTX, once the third-largest crypto exchange in the world and which filed for bankruptcy in the United States on Nov 11, said this in a court filing on Nov 19 (Saturday), but did not name its top creditors.

After the company filed for bankruptcy, its estimated one million customers and investors—including Temasek Holdings, owned by the government of Singapore— stand to lose everything. FTX’s failure is one of the highest-profile crypto blowups so far.

On Tuesday (Nov 22), a hearing before a U.S. bankruptcy judge has been scheduled. FTX also said on Saturday that it has begun a review of its assets worldwide and is getting ready to sell or reorganize some of its businesses.

Exactly how much investors and creditors will get back after bankruptcy proceedings are carried out is unclear, but is likely to be only a fraction of the original amount they put in.

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Mr John Ray, who took over from FTX founder Mr Sam Bankman-Fried as CEO, said last week that he had never “seen such a complete failure of corporate controls”. He added that there had been a “complete absence of trustworthy financial information” at FTX.

Mr Bankman-Fried’s net worth has plummeted from US$26.5 billion (S$36.4 billion) to under a billion USD. Bankman-Fried announced that FTX had filed for bankruptcy via Twitter on Nov 11, telling customers he was sorry and that “Hopefully things can find a way to recover.”

As for Temasek Holdings, it issued a statement on Nov 17 saying it will be writing down its investment in FTX worth US$275 million (S$377 million) regardless of the outcome of the firm’s bankruptcy protection filing.

To write down an asset is to reduce its value for tax and accounting purposes, but the asset still retains some value. It is not the same as writing off an asset, which negates its present and future value.

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Temasek, which is owned by the government of Singapore, clarified in its statement that it currently has “no direct exposure in cryptocurrencies”.

The statement said, “We invested US$210 million for a minority stake of ~1% in FTX International, and invested US$65 million for a minority stake of ~1.5% in FTX US, across 2 funding rounds from October 2021 to January 2022. 

The cost of our investment in FTX was 0.09% of our net portfolio value of S$403 billion as of 31 March 2022.

There have been misperceptions that our investment in FTX is an investment into cryptocurrencies. To clarify, we currently have no direct exposure in cryptocurrencies.” /TISG

Temasek: We have decided to write down our full investment (S$377 million) in FTX