Cryptocurrency

Keep personal info of FTX users private

Jeremy Sheridan, former assistant director of the United States Secret Service Office of Investigations, has warned that certain FTX customers could become targets if their personal information were to be made public.

In an April 20 declaration filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, Sheridan supported a motion from the debtors that would withhold “certain confidential information” of FTX users. According to Sheridan, who is currently a managing director for FTI Consulting, releasing the names of customers associated with the failed crypto exchange imposes “a severe and unusual risk of identity theft, asset theft, personal attack, and further online victimization.”

“If Individual Customer Names are made public in these Chapter 11 Cases, such information will provide potential malefactors an itemized list of vulnerable targets,” said Sheridan. “In particular, it will provide malefactors with a menu of potential targets via disclosure of the Debtors’ schedules of assets and liabilities list. […] And each of the Debtors’ customers’ respective cryptocurrency holdings.”

FTX users holding large amounts of crypto, according to Sheridan, would effectively have “a target on their back” and could be victims of fraud by scammers looking at their wallets. He cited examples of common online scams conducted through email and social media, including building fake business and romantic relationships, SIM swaps and phishing attacks:

“Perpetrators of frauds and online attacks are emboldened by, motivated from and attracted to high profile cases like the Chapter 11 Cases. Adding to this environment is the fact that cryptocurrency is already an attractive target for malefactors because it is easy to liquidate, instantaneous, global and pseudo anonymous.”

The legal team representing FTX debtors released a list of creditors owed money by the exchange in January. However, the roughly 10 million users’ names and personal information had been redacted. A group of media outlets, including Bloomberg and The New York Times, has objected to the redaction, claiming that the press and public had a “right of access” to the information.

Related: FTX CEO says he is exploring rebooting the exchange: Report

Judge John Dorsey extended the time that customer information could be redacted until April 20, also expressing concern that users could be put “at risk” with their names going public. FTX debtors and the committee of unsecured creditors filed a motion when the extension was set to expire requesting the bankruptcy court revisit the redaction order. The matter is scheduled for a May 17 hearing, depending on objections filed.

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