Former FTX general counsel who testified against SBF to lead new exchange Backpack: WSJ

Quick Take

  • FTX’s former general counsel Can Sun, who testified against Sam Bankman-Fried at his criminal trial, is leading Backpack’s new crypto exchange, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • Sun is teaming up with fellow ex-FTX employee Armani Ferrante, CEO and founder of Web3 digital wallet company Backpack, and other former FTX staff in hopes of raising at a $100 million valuation.

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. 


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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.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.


About Author

Zack Abrams is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, New York. Before coming to The Block, he was the Head Writer at Coinage, a Web3 media outlet covering the biggest stories in Web3. The story he co-reported on Do Kwon won a 2022 Best in Business Journalism award from SABEW. Other projects included a deep dive into SBF's defense based on exclusive documents and unveiling the identity of the hacker behind one of 2023's biggest crypto hacks — so far. He can be reached via X @zackdabrams or email, [email protected].


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