TRON Founder Justin Sun Considered Bitfinex IEO, But Denies $300M Deal
Bitfinex IEO comes at an awkward time for under-fire crypto exchange.
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Justin Sun, the founder of TRON (TRX), had conversations with the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange over investing in a potential Initial Exchange Offering (IEO). Sun considered an investment in the region of $300M, according to a person familiar with the talks.
Sun has since confirmed to Crypto Briefing that he engaged in discussions with Bitfinex about participating in the IEO. He wouldn’t confirm the amount, but added that the talks concluded without an agreement to invest.
“We had had some discussions with Bitfinex in the last month on investing in a Bitfinex IEO,” said Sun. “Those discussions ended without an investment or any agreement to invest. As before, we are closely following events with Bitfinex and Tether as they relate to our interest in seeing a viable and vibrant stablecoin market.”
It’s not clear when exactly these talks took place – or whether the recent Tether debacle put paid to any agreement. Sun has not ruled out the possibility of an investment sometime in the future.
Bitfinex had not responded to Crypto Briefing’s request for comment by the time we went to press.
Private IEO Is “More Than Halfway” Complete
Rumors about a potential Bitfinex IEO started shortly after the New York Attorney General’s office accused iFinex – the owner of the Bitfinex exchange – of defrauding investors. The Attorney General alleges that the exchange secretly used Tether (USDT) to cover an $850M shortfall.
A source told Crypto Briefing there was no shortfall with Bitfinex. “They already have plenty of money. Funds raised in the IEO will go towards new projects the exchange has planned.”
Earlier this week, Zhao Dong, a Bitfinex shareholder, told users on a Chinese social media platform that the exchange was planning to issue its own native token, at a dollar each, in a billion-dollar IEO. Zhao also said the sale would only be open to “qualified foreign investors” who would have to agree to a minimum buy-in of a million dollars by this coming Sunday.
Our source told Crypto Briefing that Bitfinex had already drawn up plans for a potential IEO – and that the decision to go ahead was taken less than two weeks ago, before the news that the Attorney General would press charges. The source claimed that prospectuses were issued to a select group of investors around the same time, and that the sale is already “more than halfway” towards the target raise.
It’s unclear whether the sale has been conducted in fiat currencies or in cryptocurrency.
Details on the actual token remain scarce. According to Zhao it might be something between Binance Coin (BNB), which gives holders discounts on trading fees, and Bitfinex’s own BFX token, which was issued to victims of the 2016 exchange hack and could be converted into equity in the exchange.
Sun added that TRON will reevaluate when there is “more clarity regarding Bitfinex and Tether“.