Can Sun, the former general counsel of FTX who became a key witness in the criminal trial of ex-FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, is behind a new exchange launching in beta later this month and hoping to sell a 10% stake to investors at a 100 million valuation, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Backpack, the Web3 digital wallet company founded and led by Armani Ferrante, announced the exchange late last month, though Sun's involvement wasn't publicly disclosed. Claire Zhang, Ferrante's wife and a former legal deputy of Sun's, also sits on the executive board of Trek Labs, the Dubai-based legal entity that will do business as Backpack Exchange. The exchange received a license from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority, or VARA, which regulates digital assets in the region.
The WSJ report states that Sun's Trek Labs employs other former FTX legal and compliance employees and that he disclosed his FTX associations in investor materials and regulatory filings. Sun testified against Bankman-Fried under a no-prosecution agreement and denied knowledge of the fraudulent schemes perpetrated by FTX executives, stating he resigned the day after he learned of the massive hole in FTX's balance sheet.
Ferrante, an ex-Alameda Research engineer, was also professionally set back by the FTX collapse. The collapse led to Ferrante losing most of the $20 million he raised in an investment round co-led by FTX Ventures just weeks before FTX's bankruptcy in November 2022. Ferrante didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Disclaimer: The former CEO and majority shareholder of The Block has disclosed a series of loans from former FTX and Alameda founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
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