- The CEOs of two of the world’s top were both recently interviewed by the New York Times on everything from their personal histories to risk and regulation.
- FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried spoke on excessive leverage, his company moving out of Hong Kong, and why FTX has a US-only branch.
- Binance’s Changpeng Zhao discussed overactive crypto markets, risk, and his “abundance mindset.”
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Sam Bankman-Fried and Changpeng Zhao have had a whirlwind few years. The two crypto exchange founders – running FTX and Binance, respectively – have come up during a once-in-a-generation investment surge into crypto. And their exchanges have been right in the center of it all.
Bankman-Fried and Zhao were both recently interviewed by the New York Times on everything from their personal histories to risk and regulation.
Here are the eight best quotes from the interviews, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:
Sam Bankman-Fried on…
- How crypto exchanges differ from traditional ones: “In crypto, exchanges handle basically the entire infrastructure. It’s every single part of a trade put together except for the buyer and seller, whereas in traditional finance, it’s all handled by like 12 different firms.”
- How to deal with excessive leverage: “It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. So there are some exceptions to this, but with most of the exchanges, a general consensus is maybe we should just get rid of 100 and 50 and anything above 10X. We would get consumer outcry if we got rid of it, and we’d get very bad press. But it might be the right thing to do.”
- Whether FTX is considering moving out of Hong Kong: “We’ve looked into it. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has been one of the most on-the-ball regulators in terms of trying to actually build out a regulatory and licensing framework. That being said, like almost every jurisdiction, Singapore has not ruled out a comprehensive regulatory framework for crypto yet.”
- Why FTX has a separate branch just for Americans: “As we started expanding into more and more demographics, one of those is retail traders, and there are huge amounts of retail influence occurring in the United States. And the other piece is the institution. A lot of US institutions, historically, they’ve not traded any crypto, but that’s starting to change. They all now have mandates for trading crypto somehow sometime.”
Changpeng Zhao on…
- How he took the dive into crypto: “In December 2013, I went to a conference in Las Vegas and bumped into Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of Ethereum. … There was one other guy that was quite influential. I was learning Ripple. He came over with a laptop to show me how it works, and in the process, he transferred [$500 of Ripple’s token] XRP to me and said, ‘You can use that to teach the next guy.’
“So I was like: ‘Well, this is a pretty generous group of people. They’re really not after the money. They’re really just wanting to teach.’ Shortly after that, I quit my job, sold my house.”
- Whether he worries about overactive crypto markets: “We have an open democratic market, and the market will self-correct. Too many people are rushing in. The prices will go too high. And then some guys will want to cash out, to take profit. But nobody really knows. So maybe the price is still too low now. So the market takes care of that.”
- How he thinks about risk: “The word risk means different things to different people. Some people say risk. Some people say opportunity.”
- How he views his competitors: “I never view anyone as competition. If I’ve got that mindset, everyone’s the enemy to me, even very different businesses. But I have an abundance mentality. I think most things in this world are not limited resources. Money is not. Business opportunities are not. And the crypto industry is not.”