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Coinbase-backed Vauld halts withdrawals


Singapore-headquartered crypto exchange Vauld, which serves customers in India, has halted withdrawals, the firm’s Chief Executive Officer Darshan Bathija announced in a blog post. The firm has hired legal representation in India and Singapore as it makes this move. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Rajah & Tann will be representing the firm in India and Singapore, and Kroll has been brought on as a financial advisor.

“We have made the difficult decision to suspend all withdrawals, trading and deposits on the Vauld platform with immediate effect,” Bathija wrote. “We believe that this will help to facilitate our exploration of the suitability of potential restructuring options, together with our financial and legal advisors.”

The move comes as crypto and financial markets around the world take a huge beating. Vauld said that depositors had withdrawn nearly $200 million in the weeks leading up to this decision. The company said it would apply for a moratorium in Singapore against any potential litigation against it.

Vauld provided lending services in addition to serving as an exchange, leaving it particularly vulnerable to market shocks. The firm said in its statement that the withdrawal was “triggered by the collapse of Terraform Lab’s UST stablecoin, Celsius network pausing withdrawals, and Three Arrows Capital defaulting on their loans.” In other words, a full on domino impact of the issues roiling Crypto currently.

The development is a particularly staggering turn of events for Vauld, whose CEO said in the initial days of the crash that it was important to be “disciplined” with asset allocation and “book profits frequently”.

On June 23, Vauld announced that it would be laying off 30% of its employees (the firm has a double-digit headcount). Bathija said that he and his co-founder Sanju Sony Kurian “started Vauld during the last crypto winter and we’re here because we carefully managed expenses then. We believe that these measures are necessary so that we’re very strong in the long term.”

Even so, market pressures and withdrawals seem to have toppled the company to such an extent that depositors may now not see much of their assets for a very long time.As of last July, Vauld had raised a total of $27 million, from investors like Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Coinbase, Pantera Capital and Cadenza Capital. 

For Crypto investors, who have seen crypto assets fail one of their most basic promises of offering stability when other asset classes don’t, these developments will be yet another warning to heed the advice of skeptics who have warned about the pitfalls of investing in the asset class. 

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