Finance & Venture Capital

Sam Bankman-Fried

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Youthful crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, has climbed global rich lists with dizzying speed


Sam Bankman-Fried has become a billionaire many times over astonishingly quickly from his cryptocurrency businesses, and in 2021 took the title of the world’s richest person in their 20s. But he is neither a big crypto fan nor someone who particularly wants to get rich. The son of two Stanford Law School professors, the former Wall Street trader built his first fortune through his crypto trading firm, Alameda Research, which he founded in 2017. Frustrated by the inefficiency of the exchanges he was using, in 2019 he launched crypto derivatives trading platform FTX. The company has grown fast, and in 2021 raised US$900 million, raising its value to US$18 billion.

Originally from the US, he moved to Hong Kong in 2018 along with his company, before moving it to the Bahamas in 2021. Bankman-Fried is also dedicated to philanthropy: FTX gives one per cent of all its revenue to charity, and he has said he plans to give away almost all of his wealth, having entered a high earning career solely in order to do so. He is famous for his austere lifestyle—sharing an apartment, sleeping on a bean bag chair and rarely taking holidays.

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Did you know?

During the 2020 US presidential election campaign, Sam Bankman-Fried was the second-largest individual donor to Joe Biden, behind former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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