Crypto Brokerage Genesis Is Said to Warn of Bankruptcy Without Funding

(Bloomberg) -- Digital-asset brokerage Genesis is struggling to raise fresh cash for its lending unit, and it’s warning potential investors that it may need to file for bankruptcy if its efforts fail, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

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Genesis has spent the past several days seeking at least $1 billion in fresh capital, said the people, who asked not to be identified because discussions are private. That included talks over a potential investment from crypto exchange Binance, they said, but funding so far has failed to materialize.

The rush for funding was precipitated by a liquidity crunch at the lender after the sudden collapse of FTX, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges. Genesis halted redemptions shortly after revealing on Nov. 10 that it had $175 million locked in an FTX trading account.

“We have no plans to file bankruptcy imminently,” a representative for Genesis said in an emailed statement. “Our goal is to resolve the current situation consensually without the need for any bankruptcy filing. Genesis continues to have constructive conversations with creditors.”

A representative for Binance declined to comment.

Genesis has reached out to Apollo Global Management in a bid to secure an investment, but Apollo is unlikely to commit to a deal, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. One option proposed by Genesis was for Apollo to buy parts of its loan book, this person said.

A spokesperson for Genesis didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on its interactions with Apollo.

Other platforms are facing their own struggles as redemption requests roll in after FTX’s bankruptcy filing roiled the crypto sector and left investors on edge about the risk of contagion.

Read more: From Genesis to Gemini, How FTX’s Collapse Signals No One Is Safe

Genesis is a counterparty to many in the digital-asset space and is closely watched as a gauge of the industry’s strength. It’s among the crypto lenders that are feeling acute strain after a prolonged rout in virtual-coin prices amid multiple high-profile blowups.

The difficulties at Genesis have also buffeted the billionaire Winklevoss twins Tyler and Cameron, owners of the Gemini crypto exchange.

In response to Genesis suspending withdrawals, Gemini halted redemptions from its Earn product. That left in limbo a program that, according to a person familiar with the matter, has $700 million of customer money tied up in it.

--With assistance from Eliza Ronalds-Hannon, Annie Massa, Rachel Butt and Alyssa McDonald.

(Updates with Apollo unlikely to invest in sixth paragraph.)

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