Fortune Interview with SBF: Discussing Crypto Winter, Crypto Development Direction, and FTX’s Ultimate Goal

Already a billionaire entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried (wealth worth about $11.5 billion) has a whole new identity: the white knight of the crypto space, SBF is chasing after the “crypto winter” when Bitcoin and various properties are collapsing , buy time for your own startup. On his way to New York, SBF sat down with Fortune to talk about his investments, the future of cryptocurrencies, and his   ultimate goal at FTX  .

The interview questions and answers below have been edited for readability.

Fortune: Are many crypto insiders predicting the current crypto winter? In this case, do you think it might be bad for the market?

SBF: Of course not everyone predicted it. I think it’s healthy. If you happened to tell me that the Nasdaq would be down 40% from its top, then I would have guessed that the market would be down. It is likely that only a third of the transactions (the market downturn) are crypto-specific (caused by the problem). Instead, two-thirds are simply because of the macro situation.

FORTUNE: The earlier cryptocurrency crashes of 2014 and 2018 have been taken by the market, and the rally is stronger than ever. Will it be the same this time?

SBF: I feel like we’ve seen the worst, with a little extra reward. I thought it was a beneficial “hunting operation”. This is beneficial, individuals need to rethink their approach to property values, need to be more grounded and understand that we are going to build a stronger crypto market again.

If the Nasdaq could drop another 25%, and interest rates did drop to 7%, and the recession lasted for two and a half years, in that case, I think bitcoin could go all the way down to $15,000 or $10,000 . Then there is also the possibility of a new “full sweep” of the market.

FORTUNE: You weathered the downturn well and used that time to accumulate stakes in several different companies. What’s the secret to this?

SBF: First, ask ourselves what are the ways we can protect property.

The second is to prevent the spread of the current domino-style “contagion” in the crypto market. If one point is detonated, will it detonate elsewhere? Will we see a series of market explosions?

Third, is this a great deal for us? Or rather, is there a trade that is “unhealthy” for us? Don’t try to make extravagant acquisitions. Rather, provide some sort of affordable offer.

Fortune Magazine: A senior crypto industry insider thinks you’ll be like Buffett, proudly sitting on a billion-dollar fortune, and everyone owes you a lot. Do you think this is exaggerated?

SBF: I also hope it’s not an exaggeration, but it is. I hope that once we work with individuals, we will be ready for future collaborations. We try to work together and think about things from our common perspective, and then we can think about how to divide the “cake.”

FTX is believed to allow clients to trade derivatives. Derivatives, however, are a product that few realize, let alone what it is for. The branding issues we are doing are not going to be for direct acquisition of buyers. As you mentioned, most individuals don’t buy or sell crypto derivatives, and we don’t even offer crypto derivatives in the US. It’s not so much a buyer acquisition factor as it’s a company brand factor. I think the core criteria you mentioned are correct, in the end, we have to have use cases to make the individual’s standard of living higher. This is one thing I wish the company did more of.

Fortune: Do you think the lack of utility of cryptocurrencies is also a disadvantage of FTX?

SBF: Of course, although we’re always looking for talent to build more practical crypto applications. I don’t think running a blockchain social media community is a great choice for FTX, but we’d love to help technically. I need someone to build it and get it done.

We’ve been very actively looking for projects with compelling use cases where we can invest. I have spoken to our senior Builder. The response I get every time is “there’s no way we’re going to start a new company in the next three months”. However, if no one else does, we will be the first to eat crabs.

FORTUNE: You mentioned that you came to crypto after discovering a solution that could make a lot of money, not because you wanted to change the world or change the federal government or something. It’s a refreshing feeling. However, does your opinion put pressure on crypto true believers?

SBF: It’s my responsibility, and some people are skeptical of me, they think I’m doing it from a practical rather than an ideological point of view. I think blockchain is helpful and may change the world for the better. My view is that the crypto business is ultimately up to the blockchain, and I hope to represent different groups, even if they initially joined the crypto industry from a different angle.

FORTUNE: As authoritarianism grows, we seem to prefer some sort of collectivism, if not Scandinavianism, to deal with it all. However, the worldview of the crypto community is often hyper-liberal and individualistic. Have you ever worried that encryption technology could also lead to the decline of civil order?

SBF: I think it’s weird. Let me offer you two completely different perspectives. When you think about authoritarianism, you might think about the need for collective movement to defend against it. Or you might think about it, because encryption itself is anathema to totalitarianism. I feel like every one is real.

The crypto space will not support domineering and indifferent views. You may not be able to stay out of it, you have to have interaction, and Crypto is part of that.

FORTUNE: These are some big concepts. Barring any major macro shocks, what’s your best guess at Ethereum’s value? Will Bitcoin reach $100,000 in two years?

SBF: Ethereum is too eye-catching. Clearly, with the upcoming merger, there will be huge volatility. I feel like the price could be higher or it could be worse, I don’t know how to answer.

I think Bitcoin is more predictable. If there are sudden explosions and liquidations, that’s the problem. However, the carnage came with a little extra – regulation. This could create a huge external shock. Optimistic prediction, in the coming year, we may be lucky to witness  BTC   100,000 US dollars, do not rule out this possibility. However, if you told me by the end of the year that Bitcoin was going to hit $35,000, I would believe it.

SBF’s crazy acquisition territory

SBF has been dubbed the “Prince of Danger” for its outstanding trading performance. Throughout the downturn, SBF has carried the label to invest in distressed businesses, and has lived up to Warren Buffett’s dictum to “grab the hearts of others when they are afraid.”

The implosion of the crypto market prompted most survivors to hoard assets and save money, and SBF seized the second opportunity to find alternatives. As his influence grows, will FTX become too large for a business that values ​​decentralization? Or, regardless of FTX’s performance in the Bahamas, will it anger U.S. regulators? We will wait and see. In the meantime, we take a look at several of his current acquisition offers, each of which he has personally executed through the company. At the same time, SBF’s dominance has led to comparisons with giants such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., which raked in money in the early days of the U.S. financial turmoil.


At the very top of cryptocurrency growth, BlockFi lending companies are offering clients returns of 9% or more by simplifying their way into the so-called DeFi market. However, like many of its peers, BlockFi ran into liquidity issues this spring. SBF, which provided a $400 million credit scoring tool, said the mortgage would help BlockFi “ride the waves and get out of the market.” If it fails to act, the deal also gives SBF the possibility of an option to acquire BlockFi for a variable price of up to $240 million.


Shares of Robinhood have taken a beating since the last year of the IPO, falling 80% this spring to below $10. This led to a big push by SBF, who bought a 7.6% stake in Robinhood. SBF has been wary of the plan, but there is speculation that he may buy it outright.

Voyager Digital 

Like BlockFi, Voyager is a cryptocurrency lender facing solvency issues after the crisis. SBF provided a $200 million and 15,000 bitcoin mortgage in June. FTX is also seen as one of Voyager’s largest debtors, according to the filing.

Good Luck Video games 

In March, FTX acquired Good Luck Video games, a crypto-focused company created by veteran players of the game Magic: the Gathering. The deal helps SBF explore other areas of the crypto market.

Acquired Japanese, Canadian and Korean exchanges

FTX acquired a Japanese trading platform called Liquid in February, before acquiring Canadian crypto trading platform Bitvo in June. The exact amount of each deal was not disclosed, but each company was previously valued at more than $1 billion. At the end of July, it was reported that FTX was acquiring Bithumb, a South Korean virtual currency trading platform. These acquisitions provide FTX with new opportunities to expand the market, as well as a quick window into FTX’s global expansion, as the acquired companies already have established relationships with local regulators.

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