Huobi co-founder’s firm recovers 108% of deposits from FTX collapse

Hong Kong investment holdings company Sinohope, created by Huobi (HTX) exchange co-founder Leon Li, will recover more than 100% of its stuck deposits on the defunct crypto exchange FTX via its Hbit subsidiary.

According to a May 24 announcement that began circulating on May 28, Hbit has sold $19.5 million worth of creditor claims to debt investment firm Ceratosaurus Investors LLC. At the time of collapse in November 2022, Sinohope had $18.1 million worth of deposits stuck on FTX. The deal implies a recovery ratio of 108% of the firm’s assets.

Sinohope was materially impacted by the unreturned funds. On Dec. 13, 2023, the firm disclosed that it expects a loss of $280 million Hong Kong dollars ($35.86 million) for the first nine months of the year, an increase from $200 million Hong Kong dollars ($25.61 million) it lost during the same period in 2022.

Part of the loss included $86 million Hong Kong dollars ($11 million) of enterprise deposits immobilized on the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX. To keep the firm alive, Leon Li had to personally extend a $14 million personal line of credit to bail out Sinohope customers affected by FTX’s collapse.

On Dec. 11, 2023, X-Spot Global, another company owned by Leon Li, won an injunction against Huobi Global, requiring the latter to cease using the Chinese-equivalent “Huobi” trademark in Hong Kong.

According to court filings, the Huobi trademark was registered in 2019 in Hong Kong. In September 2022, co-founders Leon Li and Du Jun sold Huobi Global to About Capital Management, an entity linked to Chinese blockchain personality Justin Sun. However, prior to the acquisition, the rights to the Chinese-language Huobi trademark had been fully transferred to Leon Li’s X-Spot Global, making the entity its trademark owner. Huobi subsequently rebranded to HTX last September.

In response to a sharp rise in crypto prices amid the ongoing bull market, FTX creditors’ claims—many of which are denominated in cryptocurrencies—have soared in value. Current estimates for FTX’s claims recovery range from 129% to 143%.

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