Blockchain for Banking News

Bankruptcies of blockchain firms Marco Polo, Symbiont attract bidders

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Potential acquirers are exploring buying the assets of enterprise blockchain firms Marco Polo and Symbiont, which both still have operational blockchain platforms. Marco Polo’s active clients include Commerzbank and others, and Symbiont developed a blockchain platform for index data that Vanguard has been using for years.

Trade finance platform Marco Polo formally entered insolvency in Ireland two weeks ago, whereas blockchain fintech Symbiont entered Chapter 11 in the United Stated more than three months ago. Both firms boasted systemically important banks as backers and clients. 

In Marco Polo’s case, the largest shareholders were not banks, but ING, BNP Paribas and SMBC had significant stakes. Marco Polo raised $95 million and Symbiont $53 million before their bankruptcies.

Marco Polo attracts bidders

According to Ireland’s Independent newspaper, Marco Polo has several parties interested in the company or its intellectual property. Ken Fennell and Andrew O’Leary of Interpath Advisory Services have been appointed as liquidators to Marco Polo, with customers continuing to use the software. 

Marco Polo’s demise came after a proposed $12 million investment from one of its clients, Bank of America, fell through. However, given a $29 million burn rate in 2021, it’s unclear how long the $12 million would have lasted.

Symbiont’s first rescue attempt fails

When we last wrote about Symbiont in January, it had a rescue attempt on the table with an offer of $6 million in interim funding that we believe was linked to its Chairman. However, the white knight had an extremely tight schedule to deliver the money, which it failed to meet. 

Symbiont had a single secured creditor LM Funding to whom it owed $2.3 million, so LM Funding is now in the driving seat.

Meanwhile, Symbiont was still working on projects with invoices raised to SWIFT and State Street in January, post the start of Chapter 11.

LM Funding had planned to switch from Chapter 11 for restructuring to Chapter 7, which involves liquidation. However, a letter to the court yesterday said it had agreed with Symbiont that a Chief Restructuring Officer should be appointed to “take over the management and day-to-day operations” of Symbiont and facilitate asset sales. LM Funding will foot the bill. The only hold-up is proof of the Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance policy.

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