Crypto billionaire Bankman-Fried explains what's next for bitcoin

·Senior Writer
·3 min read

If anyone can say they know the ins and outs of crypto, it's the 29-year-old billionaire founder of crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried.

Not only has he built up an impressive personal net worth by being ahead of the curve in crypto trends, he's also built FTX into one of the fastest growing crypto platforms through first-of-their-kind partnerships. 

First, there was the first-ever crypto deal with a major U.S. sports team by locking up the naming rights to the Miami Heat's arena. Then, there was the $210 million deal to rename e-sports brand TSM to TSM-FTX. Now, FTX is signing yet another brand deal with Major League Baseball to deck out umpires with FTX brand patches during the upcoming season. 

All of the deals are part of the same mission and bet — that the trend of people getting into trading crypto is here to stay and that Bankman-Fried is confident customers will stick with FTX over other options. 

"Over the next couple months, I would be surprised if there wasn't at least one more thing coming out," he told Yahoo Finance Live Thursday.

Part of Bankman-Fried's confidence in the crypto market bouncing back from its intense selloff that has seen bitcoin lose nearly 50% of its value since its April all-time high stems from an expected stream of more institutional money flowing into the space and as he sees it, a dropping off of more speculative bets.

"The institutional money is still planning to come in. It's going to be months, years — you know, these are a lot of slow-moving, careful institutions that are making decade-long decisions about what they are going to do with their businesses," he said.

FTX Sam Bankman-Fried
FTX Sam Bankman-Fried

On top of that, Bankman-Fried said he's not seeing as much potential for riskier trades that were made on borrowed money, or margin, to be liquidated now — unlike what he saw at the beginning of the May selloff.

"The potential for those to drive things down, there's a lot less of that now. Open interest is down a lot, a lot of the people who could get liquidated did get liquidated. There's a lot less froth in the market," he said, pointing at dropping borrowing costs in crypto and dropping bitcoin futures. "While not a bullish sentiment, it is a sign that people are no longer holding net-risky long positions."

That said, the rate of crypto adoption among institutions may have taken a bit of a hit that might delay more funds from flowing in as fast as they would have without the big recent collapse in prices. As fellow crypto billionaire and Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz told Yahoo Finance earlier this month, institutions are going to be pivotal in continuing the uptrend. 

"You need institutions. They own all the money,” he said.

Outside of a surge in institutional adoption or a potential tweet from Elon Musk, as Bankman-Fried joked, other catalysts that could send bitcoin higher include governments following El Salvador's move to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, or potential regulations around some of crypto's gray areas.

Zack Guzman is an anchor for Yahoo Finance Live as well as a senior writer covering entrepreneurship, crypto, cannabis, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.

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