The Met Returns $550,000 in Donations From Sam Bankman-Fried’s Bankrupt Crypto Exchange

The company is scrambling to recover $93 million worth of donations to repay creditors.

The facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Katya Kazakina.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has agreed to return a donation of $550,000 that it received last year from the crypto exchange FTX, just months before the company’s dramatic fall into bankruptcy in November.

The agreement was made public on Friday via a court document, according to Coindesk. FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings are currently taking place at the United States Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

“The Met wishes to return the Donations to the FTX Debtors, and the FTX Debtors and the Met have engaged in good faith, arm’s length negotiations concerning the return of the Donations,” the filing said.

The museum had initially received $300,000 in March, followed by a further $250,000 in May. The gift had been allocated via West Realm Shire Services, FTX’s entity in the U.S. It will be returned in full within one month of a judge’s approval.

The documents also noted that FTX had given out a total of $93 million in donations between March 2020 and November 2022, with 180 politicians apparently receiving a sizeable gift. The company’s disgraced former chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried’s well-documented interest in “effective altruism” may have been the motivation behind these generous handouts, but now FTX is reportedly scrambling to recover the funds so that they can can be used to repay its creditors.

Though the traditional art world had shown signs of embracing NFTs and blockchain technology last year, the collapse of FTX is one of the major events to push the relationship between the art world and the crypto industry into more troubled territory in recent months.

 

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