Can Sun, former FTX General Counsel and key witness in Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) criminal trial, is spearheading the launch of a new crypto platform called Backpack Exchange.
To do so, the exec has teamed-up with former Alameda Research developer Armani Ferrante, who will serve as the CEO of its holding company in the British Virgin Islands. Sun on the other hand stands as the Founder of Trek Labs, a higher corporate entity that recently acquired a licence from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) in the UAE region. With this in mind, Backpacker Exchange is being based out of Dubai.
Unlike the illicit dynamics involved in FTX, Sun’s Backpack Exchange will be a digital wallet company that allows users to self-custody their funds. This means that no one but users themselves will have access to them.
With plans to launch in beta later this month, the company is reportedly seeking to sell a 10% stake that values it at over $100 million. Additionally, Backpack Exchange will act as a company for Trek Labs to do business through.
Some may say that the announcement - which came via the Wall Street Journal - intentionally came in wake of crypto’s biggest criminal case to date. Further, such courtroom sequence saw Sun tell jurors that he ‘never approved’ of FTX lending customer funds to Alameda Research during his 15-month spell at the company.
In fact, FTX’s majorly dubious venture capital arm is also an official investor in Backpack, as it contributed to half of a $20 million funding round from September 2022. However that being said, Ferrante later revealed that the majority of such funds remained on the now-defunct exchange, meaning the majority of the company’s backing was lost when it collapsed.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen crypto execs from flailing firms head straight back into the world of Web3 entrepreneurialism, as disgraced Three Arrows Capital Founders Kyle Davies and Su Zhu (SZ) founded the ‘Open Exchange’ - a public marketplace for crypto claims, trading and derivatives - after their mammoth crypto investment entity came tumbling down last year.
That being said, it’s most certainly important to preface that both Sun and Ferrante didn’t possess the same level of ‘mens rea’ - if not any - as the likes of Davies and Zhu did during their respective industry-shaking crypto mishap.
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This article is intended for educational purposes and is not financial advice.