in #bitcoin5 years ago (edited)

If Bitfinex is insolvent, how are they taking deposits? And how can they allow withdrawals of new deposits?

Bitfinex appears to be insolvent

Bitfinex has imposed a haircut on all of their depositors. This includes both those whose deposits were held in segregated accounts and those whose deposits were not held in segregated accounts.

For those whose deposits were not held in segregated accounts, there is no question that the deposits constituted general obligations, payable on demand, on the part of Bitfinex. To justify making anything less than a full payment on a general obligation that is payable on demand, a company would have to be insolvent or illiquid.

By definition, if you don't have sufficient assets to make the payments you are obligated to make, you are insolvent. There's no reason to think Bitfinex has assets that are not liquid. They imposed a haircut because they don't have assets to cover the funds their depositors have every right to demand from them. They are insolvent.

The haircut did not make them any less insolvent

While a court could modify their obligations, there's no evidence any court has done so. In fact, we know that no court has done so because the creditors would have the right to notice and even to appear in such a hearing.

Deciding to pay someone less than you owe them does not in any way change what you owe them. So imposing the haircut did not reduce Bitfinex's obligations. So it seems that Bitfinex is now insolvent.

What happens when you deposit?

When you deposit funds at Bitfinex, they have your funds. You have a promise that they will repay you the funds you deposited. But you're just another creditor on their list of creditors. You get funds if they have them and not if they don't. Your deposit is another general obligation of Bitfinex, a company that is insolvent.

It's almost certain that there will be legal action over Bitfinex's decision. If there are a series of small suits, there's no reason to think that courts won't award those who sue the funds they ask for, perhaps with additional punitive damages. This will deepen Bitfinex's insolvency.

There's a good chance that at some point this legal action will result in Bitfinex freezing withdrawals, either because they are ordered to do so or because they will realize that they cannot keep operating while insolvent. You may get none of your funds back because you choose to entrust them to an insolvent company and there are too many claims senior to yours.

What happens when you try to withdraw?

If Bitfinex is insolvent, they cannot make 100% payments to one creditor. That would be a fraudulent transfer, preferring one creditor over another. As I understand it, both taking deposits and processing full withdrawals for funds made in those deposits is fraud.

You really do not want to be the beneficiary of a fraudulent transfer, especially where there's sufficient public information to know that the transfer is fraudulent. Punch "claw back" into your favorite search engine.

Do not deposit funds at Bitfinex

Until Bitfinex can explain why they are not insolvent or concedes that they are and provides a complete explanation of why those who deposit funds with them can expect to get them all back and why withdrawals of those funds are not fraudulent transfers from an insolvent company preferring one creditor over another, it would be reckless to deposit any funds at Bitfinex.


I am not a lawyer. I am drawing conclusions entirely based on publicly-available information and am disclosing my reasoning. If any of my information or reasoning is incorrect, please notify me. I will make corrections or include alternate views as appropriate.


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I absolutely agree on this and I am calling it a Bail-in:

And I think that either bitgo, bitfinex, or both, have some rats who enabled what appears to be a breach of the security of multisig transactions.

Rats indeed. It did stink to high heaven from the start. I wonder if Bitcoin halving dug into their profits a bit so the solution was to steal. IMO

And once again, the wrong image is chosen as the thumbnail image for this post. Does anyone know how you can control that?

I think it chooses the smaller image... ie the one it won't have to trim down to turn into a thumbnail.

Thank you! I'll see if that makes a difference.

Thats strange, try using jpg formatted image.

The last time that happened, it was a JPG. :/

Thanks for this. Pretty surprising that Bitfinex continues to be a top 10 exchange by volume (according to The market seems to disagree with you at the moment.