A new crypto exchange is coming to Dubai, led by former executives of the failed FTX platform. The exchange, called Backpack, aims to offer a secure and transparent way for users to trade and store their digital assets.
Backpack is the product of Trek Labs, a Dubai-based startup that obtained a license from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) in October. The founder and CEO of Trek Labs is Can Sun, who served as the general counsel of FTX until its collapse in November 2022.
Sun was a key witness in the recent trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX and Alameda Research, who was convicted of fraud for misusing customer funds. Sun testified that he quit FTX after learning that Bankman-Fried had transferred billions of dollars of customer funds to Alameda Research for speculative investments.
Sun told the Wall Street Journal that he wanted to use the lessons learned from FTX to create a better alternative for crypto users. He said: “In a post-FTX world, you need trust and transparency to create a true alternative to the other players.”
One of the main features of Backpack is that it allows users to self-custody their funds, meaning that they have full control and access to their crypto wallets. Backpack uses a technology called multiparty computation (MPC), which requires multiple parties to approve a transaction before it is executed. This way, users can verify their funds at any time and prevent unauthorized access.
Another former FTX executive who is involved in Backpack is Armani Ferrante, who was a software developer at Alameda Research. Ferrante is the CEO of Backpack’s holding company in the British Virgin Islands, as well as the founder of Backpack, a crypto wallet company that is integrated into the exchange.
Ferrante said that he lost most of his funds when FTX went bankrupt, as he had invested in Backpack’s $20 million funding round in September 2022 and kept the money on FTX. He said that he wanted to build a platform that would protect users from such losses.
Backpack Exchange is currently in beta and plans to launch later this month. The exchange will offer trading services for various cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, and Avalanche. It will also support fiat currencies, such as the U.S. dollar and the United Arab Emirates dirham.