According to a new bankruptcy filing, defunct crypto lender BlockFi has $227 million worth of uninsured funds allocated to a money market mutual fund (MMMF) offered by the troubled Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).
SVB — one of the Unites States’ largest banks and a key partner to venture-backed companies — was shut down by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation on March 10, with no specifics offered at the time of the closure.
The move adds to the recent Silvergate bankruptcy carnage, which has seen crypto markets tumble since the crypto-friendly bank’s financial woes came to light at the beginning of March.
Few more bank collapses then up only
— sassal.eth (@sassal0x) March 10, 2023
Looking at the ongoing BlockFi bankruptcy case, a March 10 filing indicates that the firm has $227 million worth of capital in an MMMF offered by SVB.
Notably, the filing highlights a balance summary statement from SVB, which states that BlockFi’s investment is not a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insured deposit, not insured by any federal government agency and “not guaranteed by the bank.”
The FDIC’s federal deposit insurance covers up to $250,000 per depositor but does not cover the scope of money market funds.
A money market mutual fund invests in highly liquid near-term instruments such as cash, cash equivalents and high-quality short-term debt instruments, and is regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
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Investors are issued fund shares in exchange for their capital, so BlockFi’s funds may not be at risk despite SVB’s troubles.
Is this a regular MMF, not affiliated with SVB, custodied at SVB or its securities affiliate? The SVB receivership shouldn’t affect that. The MMF is not FDIC insured, but the shares’ value would depend on what’s in the MMF, not what happens to SVB.
— Matt Waters (@mattwwaters) March 10, 2023
SVB offered several mutual fund investment services, but according to its website, it doesn’t appear to have managed any of the funds. The firm lists big names such as BlackRock, Morgan Stanley and Western Asset Management as the fund managers.
As such, the risk to BlockFi in this instance is most likely the fund’s performance — not anything related to SVB’s financial woes.
One firm that looks to be directly impacted by the SVB closure — and the Silvergate bankruptcy — is USD Coin (USDC) issuers Circle.
According to the company’s latest audit report, as of Jan. 31, $8.6 billion, or roughly 20% of its reserves, were held in several U.S. financial institutions, including SVB, Silvergate Bank and Bank of New York Mellon.
The exact value held in SVB and Silvergate is unclear; however, Circle issued a statement via Twitter on March 10, noting that the firm and USDC will continue to “operate normally” as it awaits “clarity on how the FDIC receivership of SVB will impact its depositors.”
Silicon Valley Bank is one of six banking partners Circle uses for managing the ~25% portion of USDC reserves held in cash. While we await clarity on how the FDIC receivership of SVB will impact its depositors, Circle & USDC continue to operate normally.https://t.co/NU82jnajjY
— Circle (@circle) March 10, 2023
At the time of writing, USDC has dropped below the $1 peg to sit at $0.98, as per CoinGecko data.