SBF Explains FTX’s Growth and Envisions Donating Wealth to Good Causes

Bankman-Fried said, he’s “totally supportive of making sure the best-off pay their fair share, and maybe more”

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Sam Bankman-Fried; Blockworks Exclusive Art by Axel Rangel

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key takeaways

  • “It’s incumbent upon us to give back…to help the world,” Bankman-Fried told CNN
  • The FTX CEO expects a bright future for NFTs and is in favor of “comprehensive” regulation of the industry

Sam Bankman-Fried (known as SBF), the founder and CEO of digital asset exchange FTX, discussed his charitable giving ambitions alongside his business goals in a wide-ranging interview with CNN on Thursday.

Among the noteworthy comments from the FTX chief was that he expects fees for retail traders to come down as exchanges compete for business. FTX has enjoyed high-margin revenue, Bankman-Fried said, thanks to low operational overhead costs. The exchange has grown to a $25 billion dollar valuation in a just few years.

SBF expects growth in the NFT space as a whole, saying “I think we’re really in the early innings here,” referencing baseball, while agreeing with Steve Aoki that many individual NFTs may collapse in value.

Only “the best of them” will thrive, Bankman-Fried said. FTX launched its own NFT (non-fungible token) marketplace in June.

FTX recently relocated from Hong Kong to the Bahamas, and SBF praised the country for having passed a comprehensive crypto regulatory program, anticipating other jurisdictions to soon follow suit.

He called the current state of regulations a “messy in-between period in most jurisdictions,” and said he would love to see further oversight of stablecoins, echoing his comments during the recent House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C.

“There isn’t oversight for most [stablecoins] from many regulators to confirm that they are backed the way they say they are. And I think that’s one example of a place that would be really natural and helpful for the space for there to be a regime built out. There are not very many countries today, frankly, that have done so,” Bankman-Fried told CNN.

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On the topic of wealth and taxes, the 29-year-old billionaire said he plans to donate almost all his income to good causes, including global poverty, animal welfare, pandemic preparedness and global warming-related charities.

“It’s incumbent upon us to give back…and not just for our own sake and not just for our own legacy or our reputation, but it’s important to give back to help the world,” Bankman-Fried said.

He is also broadly in favor of progressive taxation, which levies more taxes on higher incomes, although he said a proposed tax on unrealized capital gains could have adverse practical consequences. Proposed by Democrats in the US Senate, that tax would apply only to citizens with $1 billion in assets or more than $100 million in income in three consecutive years.

“Generally, I’m totally supportive of making sure the best-off pay their fair share, and maybe more,” he said.

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