How "SBF" is tightening its grip on the crypto sector

How "SBF" is tightening its grip on the crypto sector

Under the guise of altruism, the FTX boss is raiding companies in difficulty.

What could have bitten Sam Bankman-Fried? For the past few weeks, the boss of the American platform FTX has been on all fronts, multiplying operations to help or save this or that company in trouble because of the market downturn.

The 30-year-old American, nicknamed "SBF", began by helping his compatriot BlockFi, the great rival of the Celsius platform, with a revolving credit line of 250 million dollars. Then it signed a $200 million loan with another American, the crypto broker Voyager, which was also in serious difficulty. And the list of aid from "Big Sam" goes on and on...

"We have a responsibility to get involved, even if it costs us, to prevent contagion," FTX's boss justified to US media outlet NPR, referring to all the platforms caught up in the turmoil. "Even if it's not our fault, I think it's the healthiest thing for the ecosystem, and I want to be able to help it grow and prosper", added the man whose company is valued at just over 30 billion dollars.

Too good to be true? Perhaps. Because the young billionaire (worth $20 billion, according to Forbes) could soon be turning his loans to companies in the ecosystem into direct equity investments at very attractive prices. Under the proposed agreement with BlockFi, FTX, whose only dream is to dethrone Chinese giant Binance (read the interview with its boss), will be able to exercise an option to buy the company at virtually... zero! The explanation is simple enough to understand: most of the price paid by SBF would be used to guarantee the value of the assets claimed by customers (while BlockFi's coffers are potentially empty). 💵

While this possibility is attractive to BlockFi's customers and management, it is not to the taste of its historic investors. For Mark Yusko, a managing partner at Morgan Creek Digital, FTX could wipe out all of BlockFi's shareholders, including management and employees with stock options, as well as all the investors who came on board during previous fundraisings. Morgan Creek Digital is reportedly trying to raise $250m to compete with FTX's offer.

The threat is, in any case, taken very seriously, as the US giant acquired Japanese exchange platform Liquid in this way in 2021, after granting it a $120m credit line.

In this context, some are even blaming Sam Bankman-Fried for possibly playing a role in the downfall of certain players. The American may have pushed certain "attacks" against platforms in order to weaken them and get his hands on them at a low price. These accusations are dismissed by the man himself. "It's totally false", he replied recently on Twitter. "We want to help those we can in the ecosystem, and have no interest in hurting them, that would hurt us and the whole ecosystem". A denial that hasn't entirely dispelled doubts in the ecosystem... Especially as, according to Bloomberg, FTX is now reportedly considering acquiring investment app Robinhood, which is also in trouble.

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