Former FTX general counsel Can Sun, who played a pivotal role as a key witness in the trial against Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), is joining forces with other ex-FTX executives to establish a new cryptocurrency exchange, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Dubai-based start-up, known as Trek Labs, recently obtained a license from the Emirate’s crypto regulator, marking a new chapter for individuals determined to address the challenges that led to the downfall of their previous employer.
Trek Labs is seeking investors, aiming to sell a 10% stake at a valuation exceeding $100 million.
Sun was a key witness for the prosecution in SBF’s trial. He told the jury that he resigned after discovering the mismanagement of customer funds and refused to justify the former billionaire’s actions.
Former FTX employees
Besides Sun, Trek Labs also features other key figures from the defunct company in leadership roles, including Armani Ferrante.
Ferrante serves as the CEO of Trek’s holding company in the British Virgin Islands and oversees a partner firm called Backpack, which specializes in designing and operating digital currency wallets.
Ferrante, who witnessed the FTX disaster firsthand, had worked at Alameda Research and later at FTX on a crypto token project. Despite facing losses when FTX collapsed, Ferrante is now a minority shareholder in Trek’s holding company.
The new venture has attracted other former FTX employees, including Claire Zhang, Sun’s ex-deputy and Ferrante’s wife. Zhang disclosed her marriage to Ferrante in a May submission to Dubai’s regulator.
According to the filing, she plans to leave the company once Trek secures an investment round. Meanwhile, Sun disclosed his previous role at FTX in regulatory filings and investor materials, ensuring transparency with Dubai’s regulator about his testimony in the investigation against SBF.
Sun and Ferrante told the media that they intend to incorporate the lessons learned from FTX’s failure into the core of Backpack Exchange, the name under which Trek Labs will operate.
The new exchange plans to implement Backpack’s technology, allowing users to hold funds in their own “self-custody” crypto wallets.
Utilizing multiparty computation techniques, these wallets require approval from multiple parties for any transaction. The unique feature of Backpack Exchange is that users can verify their holdings at any given time.
Despite their background at FTX, Sun and Ferrante are confident in gaining trust and transparency in the post-FTX landscape.
According to Sun:
“In a post-FTX world, you need trust and transparency to create a true alternative to the other players.”
Trek Labs aims to launch Backpack Exchange in beta later this month, offering users a secure and transparent platform built on the lessons learned from FTX’s shortcomings.