FTX’s Japanese users will be able to start withdrawing funds from February

Technology

The FTX logo on a laptop screen.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Japanese FTX users will be able to start moving their funds out of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange starting in February, according to a statement from the company’s Japan subsidiary.

FTX Japan said Thursday it was developing a system to resume withdrawals through the website of Liquid Japan, a crypto exchange it acquired earlier this year. Customers will be able to view their balance on Liquid Japan, and then take out their funds.

“We deeply apologize for causing great concern and inconvenience to our customers due to the long-term suspension of the service,” the company said in a Japanese language blogpost on its website, which was translated via Google.

FTX Japan laid out a timeline for the restoration of customer funds, starting with opening of a Liquid Japan account in mid-January, and then transferring assets from FTX Japan to Liquid Japan and reopening withdrawals by mid-February.

It comes after FTX Japan said on Dec. 1 that it had confirmed with lawyers for the FTX Group that “Japanese customer cash and crypto currency should not be part of FTX Japan’s estate given how these assets are held and property interests under Japanese law.”

The news offers some relief for FTX customers. Clients of FTX worldwide have been unable to get access to their money since the company entered bankruptcy last month and placed a block on withdrawals. FTX’s new caretaker chief, John J. Ray III, has said the company’s international customers should expect to get less from the bankruptcy court than U.S. customers.

Founded in 2014, Liquid was acquired by FTX in February for an undisclosed sum as part of its expansion into East Asia. Prior to that, it had been hacked for more than $90 million worth of crypto in a major cyberattack. Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, which had styled itself as a savior of beleaguered crypto firms, then provided Liquid with $120 million of debt financing.

Separately on Thursday, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas said it had seized $3.5 billion worth of crypto assets from FTX “for safekeeping” and was awaiting direction from the country’s Supreme Court to return the funds to customers and creditors, or to liquidators.

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