Sam Bankman-Fred retracts quote of $1 billion political donation

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of the FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange, speaks during the Institute of International Finance (IIF) annual membership meeting in Washington, DC, Thursday, October 13, 2022.

Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried is retracting an earlier comment that he may spend $1 billion or more on races between now and the 2024 election.

in MayThe 30-year-old “What’s your problem,” he said on the Pushkin Industries podcast, which he was expecting to present “north of $100 million” in the next presidential election and had a “soft ceiling” of $1 billion. In an interview with Morning money Politico But this week, the founder of global crypto exchange FTX called it a “dumb quote.”

“I think my messaging was kind of sloppy and inconsistent in some cases,” continued Bankman-Fried, who also founded the Alameda Research business.

Instead, Bankman-Fried is reported to have invested about $40 million in political action committees and campaigns this year in the run-up to the midterm elections, with most of that money going to Democratic candidates. The CEO of FTX was the driving force Behind Protect Our Future PAC Raised over $28 million So far – and could move the needle in the upcoming house races.

But for now, Bankman-Fried has paused his political campaign spending, telling Politico, “At some point, when you’re sending your message out to voters, there’s not much you can do.”

“You can spend more time on it, more messaging, more money, whatever else, [but] “You don’t get anything more done than that,” the CEO of FTX told Politico.

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The cryptocurrency market has plummeted since Bankman-Fried first pledged hundreds of millions of dollars earlier this year.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital currency, has fallen more than 50% in the past six months, and more than 70% since hitting an all-time high in November 2021. Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market as a whole has shifted from a market capitalization of about 3 Trillion dollars less than last year, to less than 1 trillion dollars today.

For his part, Bankman-Fried has spent a lot of money in the past few months supporting the digital asset industry during the winter of 2022. The quantitative trader-turned-CEO has bailed out several crypto companies to protect against the impact of a broader contagion across the sector, and Bankman-Fried For CNBC in September That FTX still has another billion dollars to spread.

Bankman-Fried was also interested in helping fund Elon Musk’s proposed acquisition of Twitter, according to recently released personal text messages as part of Twitter’s lawsuit to force Musk to complete the deal. At one point, the billionaire was ready to commit as much as $8 billion, According to Misk’s letter From Bankman-Fried’s “collaborator,” Professor Will MacAskill. However, he never made an official offer, according to reports.

Meanwhile, US regulators and politicians have been increasingly turning their attention to crypto policy in recent months, as a wave of bankruptcies and crypto-bank operations has eroded confidence in the emerging asset class.

Last monthFor example, the Biden White House released its first-ever framework on what crypto regulation in the United States should look like — including ways to crack down on fraud in the digital asset space.

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CNBC’s Brian Schwartz contributed to this report.

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