The crypto exchange run by 29-year-old billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried was just valued at $18 billion

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Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of crypto exchange FTX.

  • FTX, the crypto exchange founded by 29-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried, announced it raised $900 million for a valuation of $18 billion.
  • Though a touch lower than the $20 billion Bankman-Fried had previously sought, the valuation has come on the back of startling growth.
  • FTX is still a good deal smaller than Binance and Coinbase, its main competitors.
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FTX, the crypto exchange founded by 29-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried, announced on Tuesday that it had raised $900 million in series B financing, implying a valuation of $18 billion.

“I’m incredibly humbled by the support we’ve gotten,” Bankman-Fried said in a statement. “It’s our first large fundraise, but through it we’ve formed a hugely valuable set of partners.”

The fundraising round drew in high-profile participants including Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank, Paul Tudor Jones, and Sequoia Capital.

Alfred Lin, a partner at Sequoia, said in a statement that Bankman-Fried was the “perfect founder” for FTX, which could soon “become the leading financial exchange for all types of assets.”

Though a touch lower than the $20 billion Bankman-Fried had previously sought, the valuation has come on the back of startling growth. FTX, founded in 2019, saw its average daily trading volume shoot up 11-fold between October and April of this year. The exchange now handles more than $10 billion in volume on an average day.

FTX is still a good deal smaller than Binance and Coinbase, its main competitors. For comparison, Binance boasts north of $75 billion in average daily volume and Coinbase a public-market valuation of $47 billion.

One Twitter user offered their lukewarm take on the fundraise, writing, “World’s least shi–y billionaire gets more billions.”

“Eh, I’ll take it,” replied Bankman-Fried, who is worth an estimated $8.7 billion.

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29-year-old crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried said in a recent interview that buying Goldman Sachs is ‘not out of the question’

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Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of crypto exchange FTX.

  • Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto exchange FTX, told the FT that acquiring Goldman Sachs was “not out of the question” should FTX grow big enough.
  • FTX is in the midst of a new funding round, but doesn’t have current plans to IPO.
  • Average daily trading volume on FTX has shot up 11-fold between October and April of this year.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of crypto exchange FTX, said in an interview with the Financial Times that acquiring Goldman Sachs or CME Group was “not out of the question” should FTX grow big enough.

FTX – which Bankman-Fried has previously said is seeking a $20 billion valuation – still has yet to overtake its crypto competitors Binance and Coinbase. But the exchange still has considerable room to grow, the 29-year-old billionaire said, hinting at future acquisitions.

Coinbase’s IPO in April, seen by some as crypto’s “coming out” moment, put the exchange at $76 billion, though markets now value the company at a lower, still-impressive $51 billion.

FTX is in the midst of a new funding round, but doesn’t have current plans to IPO, Bankman-Fried told the FT.

“We don’t need the capital … We are not actively looking to list, but we want to be in a position to go ahead if we want to,” he said.

Bankman-Fried, who is worth some $8.7 billion himself, has taken a warmer tone toward regulation, noting that it is both inevitable and potentially beneficial to crypto brands.

An acquisition of Goldman Sachs, with a market cap of $128 billion, may be a ways off. But if anything, FTX’s explosive growth lends some credence to Bankman-Fried’s ambitions. Average daily trading volume on the exchange has shot up 11-fold between October and April of this year.

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FTX partners with MLB to become the first crypto exchange sponsor in professional sports

: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies watches as he hits a home run against the Washington Nationals during the second inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on June 22, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies during a game on June 22, 2021.

FTX is partnering with Major League Baseball to become the first cryptocurrency exchange sponsor in professional sports.

The partnership establishes FTX as the official cryptocurrency exchange brand of the baseball organization.

The latest initiative aims to increase brand awareness for FTX and to continue brand innovation for MLB. As part of the contract, FTX will be able to exercise worldwide marketing rights associated with MLB logos.

“It’s an honor for FTX to be the first cryptocurrency exchange to be associated with the history and tradition of America’s national pastime,” Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX founder and CEO, said in a statement Wednesday.

The financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

In addition, FTX.US, a US-regulated cryptocurrency exchange, will become MLB’s first-ever umpire uniform patch partner starting on July 13.

This isn’t the first time 29-year-old Bankman-Fried dipped his toe into sports.

Under his leadership, Blockfolio, the cryptocurrency app that FTX acquired in 2020, won naming rights to the NBA’s Miami Heat arena until 2040.

The $135-million deal, inked earlier this year, overtook American Airlines as the leading sponsor for the Florida sports team.

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Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried discusses why dogecoin should be named asset of the year – and how its rise reflects the meme-stock trend

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Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of crypto exchange FTX.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the 29-year-old billionaire founder of crypto exchange FTX, said in a recent podcast that dogecoin should be named asset of the year, given the massive fanbase the meme token has managed to rack up.

“If there is an asset of the year for 2020 and 2021, it would be dogecoin,” he said in an episode of The Jax Jones and Martin Warner Show podcast. “That is the asset that accurately reflects our current economic climate. That is the asset that we have all chosen, that we all deserve – for better or for worse.”

Dogecoin was last trading 12% lower at 22 cents on Monday, amid a broad cryptocurrency sell-off triggered by China’s intensification of its crackdown on crypto mining and services. The digital token is still up around 4,700% so far this year.

Bankman-Fried said he wasn’t attempting to either endorse or reject dogecoin, or even take a position on it. “I’m just saying everything we as a society have decided over the last year has been dragging us closer and closer to the dogecoin financial standard.”

The meme token has seen its popularity explode this year after influencers including Elon Musk and Mark Cuban drove attention and support its way via tweets. Dogecoin investors bet on being able to cash out by selling to the next person looking to invest, so they can make a quick buck, and those comments drew a lot of new entrants to the market.

Cardano creator and ethereum cofounder Charles Hoskinson is among those who have warned that this situation is a bubble waiting to burst and that investors will be left holding the bag if they don’t exit in time.

Digging into why and when retail investors turned their attention to dogecoin, Bankman-Fried said celebrity endorsements are fundamental to the token’s future growth.

“Elon is a powerful piece of this – he is actually the most influential man in the world when it comes to financial assets right now,” he said. “Everyone kind of knew he’d choose Dogecoin. And we chose Elon. We signed up for this. We signed up for some amount of self-aware mockery, for some amount of a sense of humour, and for some amount of challenging norms.”

He agreed that dogecoin’s value is not based in its underlying technology, and suggested people don’t invest in it for the product or its roadmap. “They buy it because it is just a funny looking dog and the fact that it is pronounced ‘doge’. That’s why they bought it,” he said.

Bankman-Fried also discussed GameStop stock’s sudden price spike, and decribed how day-traders are deciding what the value of such assets should be.

“The only surprising thing was that it wasn’t a cryptocurrency, because that pattern happens all the time in crypto -it’s not unusual,” he said.

He went on to talk about how Reddit traders banded together to ignite the video-game retailer’s trading momentum, and how that connected with dogecoin trading.

“The moment that Robinhood banned buying of GameStop, hundreds of millions of dollars flowed instantly into dogecoin. Directly out of GameStop into dogecoin. Because those are the same types of assets. People see them very similarly,” Bankman-Fried said, adding that millions of day-traders en masse can decide the valuation of an asset after discussing it on social media.

Read More: The CEO of the world’s oldest active crypto exchange breaks down why going public is ‘a dangerous distraction’ – and shares the 3 types of cryptocurrencies with real-world use cases that he’s excited about

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Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried says bitcoin could switch to green energy with little fuss – and reveals SPACs are lining up to take his FTX exchange public

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Sam Bankman-Fried co-founded and runs crypto exchange FTX.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the 29-year-old crypto billionaire, has said that bitcoin could dramatically cut down on its energy use without killing off the cryptocurrency or setting back the industry.

He also revealed that special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, have been queuing up to take his FTX crypto exchange public, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg.

The computing process that secures and “mines” bitcoin has been criticized for using vast amounts of energy. Bitcoin enthusiasts have pushed back hard, saying detractors are blowing the problem out of proportion.

But Bankman-Fried told Bloomberg that bitcoiners need to take the issue seriously. “It’s not at all reasonable for bitcoin forces to decry it as sort of a witch hunt to bring up this question, because there is substantial energy usage happening because of bitcoin mining right now,” he said.

Read more: A 29-year-old self-made billionaire breaks down how he achieved daily returns of 10% on million-dollar crypto trades, and shares how to find the best opportunities

Yet he said there are a number of solutions that wouldn’t be too burdensome, such as switching to green energy or using carbon offsets to lower the industry’s impact on the environment.

“The answer is that it’s not free to mitigate, but it’s not that expensive,” he told Bloomberg. “It’s something the industry could pay without really setting itself back that much.”

Many bitcoiners argue that the industry will soon use predominantly renewable energy, given that it’s becoming cheaper and cheaper in advanced economies.

Bankman-Fried, who founded and is now chief executive of FTX, said he’s been approached by a number of SPACs about taking the crypto derivatives exchange public. SPACs are blank-check companies that raise money on the stock market and then find a target company to merge with.

He said FTX was one of the few “plausible exciting targets” for SPACs in the crypto world.

Bankman-Fried said the exchange does not have concrete plans, but said: “If we did want to go public via [a] SPAC, I don’t think finding the SPAC would be the limiting factor.”

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Altcoins associated with a 29-year-old self-made cryptocurrency billionaire are surging in popularity

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Solana cryptocurrency chart.

Altcoins associated with crypto whiz Sam Bankman-Fried, the head Alameda Research and the FTX derivatives exchange, are surging in popularity, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com.

Bankman-Fried’s Solana has jumped over 35% in the past week moving it to the 14th spot in CoinMarketCap’s list of the top cryptocurrencies worldwide. The altcoin now has a market cap of over $12.4 billion.

Serum, a cryptocurrency used by Bankman-Fried’s decentralized derivatives exchange is also up more than 40% in the past week, hitting a market cap of $468 million.

Finally, the price for FTX coin, which is used on Bankman-Fried’s FTX derivatives exchange, has jumped over 40% in the past month to hit a $4.9 billion market cap.

Bankman-Fried started Alameda Research in 2017 after a three-year stint at the quantitative-trading firm Jane Street Capital. Since then he has established himself as a top trader in the crypto space.

In a recent appearance on Bloomberg’s “Odd Lots” podcast, Bankman-Fried told Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal that he used Bitcoin arbitrage opportunities in Korea (known as the kimchi premium) to net returns of 10% a day from his multi-million dollar portfolio.

The 29-year-old is now one of only a few self-made cryptocurrency billionaires, according to data from Forbes.

Bankman-Fried told Bloomberg that he believes the rally in his solana cryptocurrency is “partially a delayed reaction to the work that’s been put into the ecosystem over the last year, and the need to find scalable solutions for DeFi as the ecosystem grows.”

DeFi or decentralized finance refers to blockchain-based trading and lending platforms that are automated by software.

DeFi applications continue to disrupt the finance industry. If you want to learn more, check out Insider’s recent breakdown of the Defi phenomenon and the 10 largest assets in the space.

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Expected top NFL draft pick Trevor Lawrence reportedly signed an endorsement deal with crypto-investment app Blockfolio – and took his first payment in crypto tokens

Trevor Lawrence, the expected top pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, has signed a multiyear deal with investment app Blockfolio and was paid exclusively in cryptocurrency, DealBook first reported Monday.

The first payment to football star was immediately transferred to his Blockfolio account. Future payments, however, are subject to whatever combination of dollars and cryptocurrency the former Clemson quarterback desires, according to DealBook.

Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed but a company spokesman revealed that the crypto signing bonus was already worth more on Sunday compared to when it was deposited on Friday.

The football player also made the announcement on Twitter, saying he is “pumped” to join the startup.

“We’re really trying to get our name out a lot,” Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, a crypto exchange that acquired Blockfolio, told Dealbook. “Trevor was excited about crypto. That’s what drew us to him.”

Bankman-Fried founded Blockfolio in 2019. Prior to that, the 29-year-old, a former trader at quant-trading firm Jane Street, started a crypto-trading firm called Alameda Research, which launched him to billionaire status.

Given that the cryptocurrency firm, which considers Coinbase as its rival, is relatively new, the company has been trying to partner with bigger brands to garner name recognition.

Under a recent $135-million deal, Blockfolio won naming rights to the NBA’s Miami Heat arena for 19 years, overtaking American Airlines as the leading sponsor for the Florida sports team.

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