Voyager Digital to Start Repaying Frozen Crypto Funds After Court Approval
Bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital has won court approval to self-liquidate assets and start repaying customers a portion of their frozen funds.
On Wednesday, US Bankruptcy Judge Michael Wiles approved Voyager's liquidation plan at a court hearing in Manhattan months after deals to sell the crypto lender to FTX or Binance.US fell apart.
Users are expected to get about 36% of what they’re owed, far lower than the 72-73% estimated recovery rate they would have received if the Binance.US acquisition plans had gone through.
However, the recovery rate could increase if defunct crypto trading firm Alameda Research fails to claw back $446 million from Voyager's estate.
Voyager's lawyers are also withholding further funds, including $259.6 million for litigation costs, administrative claims, and other holdbacks.
Customers who have any of the 67 supported tokens, including Bitcoin and Ether, stuck on the platform will be able to withdraw the allowable percentage directly.
However, a number of digital assets on the platform that cannot be withdrawn will be liquidated and returned to customers, which include major cryptocurrencies like Algorand (ALGO), Celo (CELO), and Avalanche (AVAX).
Voyager's official committee of unsecured creditors said that customers may be able to make withdrawals by as early as June.
Nobody is Happy About the Liquidation: Judge Wiles
Voyager customers expressed their dissatisfaction with regard to the liquidation, complaining about the bankruptcy cost, lawyer fees, and the partial return of crypto to users.
Judge Wiles acknowledged that nobody was happy with the liquidation but said the wind-down was the only path forward.
“Hindsight’s 20/20. I’m sure everybody wishes that something better had happened. We are where we are, we’re trying to do the best with where we are."
Since Voyager filed for bankruptcy in July 2022 due in part to its exposure to crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, the company has been working on how to return assets to its investors.
Initially, FTX secured the approval of a US bankruptcy court to take over Voyager’s assets, but it infamously collapsed soon after.
Subsequently, Binance came into the game with an offer that valued Voyager at $1 billion.
However, just recently, the exchange pulled out of the deal, citing a "hostile" regulatory climate in the United States after the US Securities and Exchange Commission and New York’s financial regulator attempted to halt the deal.
“While our hope throughout this process was to help Voyager's customers access their crypto in kind, the hostile and uncertain regulatory climate in the United States has introduced an unpredictable operating environment impacting the entire American business community,” Binance said in April.
Nevertheless, the recovery rate for Voyager customers is abysmally low. In comparison, creditors of Celsius, another bankrupt crypto platform, are estimated to receive 70% of their holdings back.