EXCLUSIVE: Sam Bankman-Fried: "We're working on our stablecoin".
In a lengthy interview with The Big Whale, the young boss of US platform FTX talks about the economic context, his acquisition strategy, his plans and the criticism levelled at him.
The Big Whale: The markets are not at their best. How's FTX doing? Is this the first time you've experienced a Bear Market...
Sam Bankman-Fried: Yes, this is the first real Bear Market we've been through. But you know, one of the main characteristics of crypto platforms is that our operations are no more impacted than that by the market downturn. Every day, we continue to develop the business, create services and new tools for customers. So, yes, the markets are less buoyant, things are a little tighter, but in the end, that doesn't cause us to deviate from our trajectory.
So there's no problem? Are you optimistic about the next few months?
I honestly don't know. I can't say exactly what's going to happen from a macroeconomic point of view over the next few months. It all depends on interest rates. If there is a real rise in interest rates, a lot could happen. There could be further sharp movements on the markets. But overall, I'm fairly optimistic about the future of cryptos because the sector keeps growing. There are more and more use cases, the technology is improving (understanding everything about Web3) and regulation is gradually being put in place.
Since the collapse of Terra Luna and the downturn on the markets, you've been seen all over the place. Many people say that you are the "big winner" of the crisis. Do you share this view?
I can understand why some people say that, but you have to think in terms of the industry as a whole. When things go well for us, the whole industry benefits, and vice versa. Honestly, we can't say that there are winners and losers. The real question is how we're all going to get through this together.
You say that when, in the space of two years, the number of your customers has soared (it's now several million, editor's note) and FTX's valuation has soared...
Yes, seen from that angle, it's true...
You've embarked on several big acquisitions. Why have you done this? What do Voyager or BlockFi mean to you?
Some of these deals helped stabilise the markets (after the fall of Terra Luna in May, several companies went bankrupt, editor's note). But apart from that, these acquisitions will enable us to strengthen our position in the United States and continue to gain market share.
Are you thinking of buying Robinhood? Would that be a good deal for you?
That's an excellent question! There are two ways for a company to grow: either it buys companies or it continues to grow internally. The most important thing is to continue to grow, to attract users, whichever way you do it. We could buy a company like Robinhood, but that's not what we're looking at right now. Our challenge is to continue to grow organically.
Where are you today?
We have excellent figures. We do 6 times more volume than Coinbase even though we have 20 times fewer users (Coinbase claims 80 million users, editor's note). When you look at these figures, you can clearly see that there is great potential.
Do you have any other targets in mind?