Rise from the ashes: New FTX CEO talks reviving the defunct crypto exchange in exclusive interview

John ray III
Written by Johnson Philip

In a recent interview, new FTX CEO John J. Ray III revealed his plans for the company following the disclosure of $5.5 billion in liquid assets held by FTX debtors and bankruptcy administrators. Ray, who has taken over the exchange’s restructuring process, stated that he is considering reviving the once-defunct digital currency trading platform.

FTX CEO John J. Ray III Explores Reviving the Fallen Crypto Exchange

In his first interview since taking on the role of CEO and CRO at FTX, John J. Ray III shared his thoughts on the company’s future following its bankruptcy filing on November 11, 2022. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Ray expressed the possibility of restarting the crypto exchange, stating that “everything is on the table.”

This interview comes after a press release and presentation by the bankruptcy team and FTX debtors, which were shared to update the committee of unsecured creditors on the company’s status.

“If there is a path forward on [rebooting FTX], then we will not only explore that, we’ll do it,” Ray told the publication.

The committee of unsecured creditors was presented with information about $5.5 billion in assets that have been discovered, referred to as “liquid assets” by the bankruptcy team, which include locked SOL and a cache of FTX tokens (FTT). However, the definition of “liquid” in this context is debatable.

The presentation also noted that an additional $4.5 billion could be obtained by selling subsidiaries and marketing FTX’s real estate in The Bahamas. CEO and CRO, John J. Ray III, stated in the interview that there are stakeholders the debtors are working with who “have identified what they see as a viable business.”

In the interview, Ray also addressed the former CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), as it has been reported that the new CEO has distanced himself from the controversial co-founder. Ray stated, “We don’t need to be dialoguing with him. He hasn’t told us anything that I don’t already know.” However, SBF responded to this comment, calling it “shocking.”

“This is a shocking and damning comment from someone pretending to care about customers,” SBF told the WSJ. Ray sees things differently than SBF and the chief restructuring officer even criticized the co-founder’s Excel balance sheet theory. “This is the problem,” Ray told the WSJ interviewer. “He thinks everything is one big honey pot.

Ray also mentioned in the interview that he had not come across a case like FTX in his entire career of restructuring companies, he said “They went on a spending spree,” and added that “sometimes there were no purchase agreements, or the agreements weren’t signed.” However, these claims made by Ray were denied by SBF.

“Mr. Ray continues to make false statements based on nonexistent calculations,” SBF told the WSJ in a text message. “If Mr. Ray had bothered to think carefully about FTX US, he would likely have realized both that his interpretation is wholly inconsistent with bankruptcy law, and also that even if one were to subtract $250m from my balance sheet, FTX US would *still* have been solvent.”

SBF added: “Rather, Mr. Ray sees everything as one big honey pot—one he wants to keep.”

Ray and SBF have a clear difference of opinion, Ray said that despite SBF’s claims that he wants to be helpful to creditors, Ray believes that SBF is misleading and causing more harm than good. Ray stated that SBF’s text message statements are false and that it is “unfortunate because people are continuing to be victims right now. They are victims of misinformation…It’s harmful.”

News of Ray’s belief that there may be a possibility of reviving the defunct trading platform caused a significant increase in the value of FTX’s exchange token, FTT. On the news, FTT jumped by 35%, reaching $2.48 per unit, compared to its previous trading value of $1.71 per unit before Ray’s interview was published.

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