Silvergate shutting down operations, liquidating after crypto meltdown
Silvergate Capital, a central lender to the crypto industry, said on Wednesday that it’s winding down operations and liquidating its bank. The stock plunged more than 36% in after-hours trading.
Silvergate has served as one of the two main banks for crypto companies, along with New York-based Signature Bank. Silvergate has just over $11 billion in assets, compared with over $114 billion at Signature. Bankrupt crypto exchange FTX was a major Silvergate customer.
“In light of recent industry and regulatory developments, Silvergate believes that an orderly wind down of Bank operations and a voluntary liquidation of the Bank is the best path forward,” the company said in a statement.
All deposits will be fully repaid, according to a liquidation plan shared on Wednesday. The company didn’t say how it plans to resolve claims against its business.
Centerview Partners will act as Silvergate’s financial advisor and Cravath, Swaine & Moore will provide legal services.
The liquidation comes less than a week after Silvergate discontinued its payments platform known as the Silvergate Exchange Network, or SEN, which was considered to be one of its core offerings. As part of the liquidation announcement, Silvergate clarified that all other deposit-related services remain operational as the company winds down. Customers will be notified should there be any further changes.
Silvergate said last week it would delay the filing of its annual 10-K for 2022 while it sorted out the “viability” of its business. The company disclosed that the delayed filing was partly due to an imminent regulatory crackdown, including a probe already underway by the Department of Justice.
Silvergate also attributed the delay to Congressional inquiries, as well as investigations from its banking regulators, which include the Federal Reserve and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
Crypto companies like Coinbase and Galaxy Digital raced to cut ties with Silvergate last week after the bank warned that it was unsure whether it could stay in business.
Silvergate has been struggling for months. In addition to laying off 40% of its workforce in January, the firm reported a nearly $1 billion dollar net loss in the fourth quarter following a rush for the exits at the end of last year that saw customer deposits plummet 68% to $3.8 billion. To cover the withdrawals, Silvergate had to sell $5.2 billion dollars of debt securities.
The firm went to the Federal Home Loan Bank for an additional $4.3 billion. That loan drew attention from lawmakers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, who said this “further introduced crypto market risk into the traditional banking system.”
Investment firms Citadel Securities and BlackRock recently took major stakes in Silvergate, buying up 5.5% and 7%, respectively.
WATCH: Silvergate plunges in pre-market trading after delaying its annual report
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