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From $323 Million to $32.7 Million: FTX Europe Sold Back to Founders for a Fraction of Original Price

FTX Europe: From Acquisition to Fire Sale in Three Years

FTX Europe is set to return to the hands of its original creators after being sold for $32.7 million. This strategic decision comes nearly three years after Sam Bankman-Fried's ambitious acquisition for a staggering $323 million. Marking a significant chapter in the bankrupt crypto exchange's journey, this settlement concludes the ongoing conflict concerning its European operations. 

A recent report from Reuters on February 24 highlights the transaction, indicating FTX's challenge in locating alternative purchasers. Originally known as Digital Assets AG (DAAG) and later rebranded to FTX Europe, the Swiss startup's acquisition in 2021 was a headline-making $323 million transaction.

The settlement and future plans

Before finalizing the sale, FTX embarked on a mission to recoup the investment poured into DAAG. The company initiated legal proceedings, claiming the acquisition was funded with customer assets, labeling the purchase price as excessively high. Founders Patrick Gruhn and Robin Matzke refuted these claims, launching a counter-lawsuit for $256.6 million against FTX. This legal battle reached its conclusion on February 21, as reported by Reuters, restoring ownership to Gruhn and Matzke.

FTX Europe's journey through FTX’s Chapter 11 filing in the U.S. during November 2022 sparked interest among various crypto exchanges, eyeing a share of FTX’s regional market. Notably, American giant Coinbase attempted acquisitions in the aftermath of FTX's collapse and again in September 2023, alongside interest from firms like Trek Labs and Crypto.com.

Despite its brief operational period in the region, FTX Europe made headlines in March 2023 by enabling European clients to initiate withdrawal requests for the first time post-bankruptcy declaration. As FTX navigates the final stages of its bankruptcy, it is set on a path to settle billions owed to its customers, recently gaining approval to liquidate over $1 billion in Anthropic shares.