Finance Forward Conference
Sam Bankman Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried is considered a phenomenon on the crypto scene. After just three years, his company FTX is rated higher than Deutsche Bank. The biggest obstacle to his project is government regulation
At Sam Bankman-Fried, the decidedly casual appearance is already part of the brand. Also on Wednesday, he is at the Finance Forward conference via video in a T-shirt and with tousled hair. The 30-year-old founder of the crypto exchange FTX is in a good mood – even though the crypto scene has just experienced a historic collapse.
Bankman-Fried smiles it away. Such is the market, he says in the direction of Hamburg. Sometimes it goes up steeply, sometimes just downhill fast. But he is optimistic that prices would be significantly higher in five years, he explains in an interview with moderator Amy O’Brien.
Bankman-Fried is considered a prodigy on stage. In just three years, his company FTX has risen to become the third largest crypto exchange in the world and is now worth more than Deutsche Bank. “SBF,” as the scene likes to abbreviate it, is now worth $ 17 billion. $ 20 billion worth of digital currencies are traded daily on its FTX cryptocurrency exchange. Only on the Binance and OKX platforms is the daily trading volume higher.
altruist and pragmatist
Bankman-Fried does not behave like someone who moves billions back and forth every day. On the contrary: Bankman-Fried emphasizes that he maintains an altruistic lifestyle – he would like to give up 99 percent of his fortune later. Already last year, he donated about $ 100 million. It is possible that the imprint of his parents, who teach utilitarianism and ethics at Stanford University, plays a role.
His business practice is also undoubtedly utilitarian. Prior to FTX, he founded the Bay Area hedge fund Alameda to take advantage of price differences in the crypto markets. The price of bitcoin in Japan was now ten percent higher than in the United States. Alameda took advantage of this and earned $ 20 million within a week.
The scene liked the zeal, but the regulators did not. There were also technical obstacles to the rapid transfer of cryptocurrencies between countries and even only in equities. Therefore, the move to Hong Kong followed, where regulation was lax. Last year, we went to the Bahamas, where the government introduced an even more lax regulatory regime. It is also closer to Washington DC, where Bankman-Fried is currently lobbying for effective regulation on an almost weekly basis. The scene places high hopes on him that he will cope with this.
Trade in the United States partially banned
FTX, however, is by no means altruistic in Washington. For regulatory reasons, Americans are currently unable to trade in several FTX products – for example, cryptocurrencies. The so-called leveraged tokens that investors can use to increase their leverage efforts are also a thorn in the side of regulators. Critics say that FTX tempts you to play. In fact, FTX’s clients are mostly large clients who move more than $ 100,000 a day. “It’s 90 percent of our customers,” Bankman-Fried said at the Finance Forward conference.
There he also finally reported what all the money did to him. “Nothing, hopefully,” he says. “But it’s nice to have so much influence on his work, and that’s actually what gives me the most – more than money.”