Failed FTX executive was promoting regulation of the crypto market
On terms favorable to his firm, of course.
As recently as last month, Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, was promoting a bill in the U.S. Senate that would place new restrictions on the largely unregulated cryptocurrency industry.
His firms, FTX and Alameda Research, failed spectacularly last week, wiping out his reported multi-billion-dollar fortune.
Outside of the crypto industry, Bankman-Fried was best known as a top political donor, ranking behind financier George Soros as the second-largest donor to the Democratic party.
Much of his targeted political giving was in support of his regulatory efforts.
He wrote a thread on Twitter less than a month ago,
He’s referring to the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act of 2022. It was introduced by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and John Boozman (R-Arkansas). They are the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
That’s the committee where commodities regulation bills originate. A hearing was held on the bill (S.4760) on September 15.
There are 22 members of the Senate Agriculture Committee. With the U.S. Senate evenly divided 50/50, the committee membership is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.
In 2021-22, Bankman-Fried made direct donations to 7 members of the Committee including both Stabenow and Boozman. Of the seven recipients, five were Democrats and two were Republicans. Included in the seven was Minnesota’s Tina Smith (D).
A few highlights from his other donations:
He donated $50,000 to the Heartland Resurgence PAC, which worked to support Sen. Boozman’s re-election effort this year in both the general election and the Republican primary.
Bankman-Fried donated $400,000 to the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund. This fund donates money to state-level Democrat-party units. The Minnesota DFL received $142,500 from the group.
He donated $105,000 to the Alabama Conservatives Fund, who spent more than $3.3 million supporting the election of Republican Katie Britt to the U.S. Senate this year.
The bulk of the money that he donated to Democrats ($27 million out of his $40 million total) this cycle went to an entity called the Protect Our Future PAC. The group states its mission as follows,
Protect Our Future is an organization designed to help elect candidates who will be champions for pandemic prevention – candidates who, when elected, will have their eyes on the future.
The fund raised $28.5 million this cycle, almost entirely provided by Bankman-Fried ($27 million) with another $1 million added by his FTX colleague, Nishad Singh.
The fund spent this money supporting a couple of dozen House candidates this fall.
Bankman-Fried’s most recent campaign contributions are listed as occurring on October 19, less than a month ago.
His political efforts weren’t always well received within the crypto community. In FTX’s final days, the company was doing battle with its frenemy Binance. The CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, posted this on Twitter last week, in reference to FTX’s inhouse currency FTT,
For their part, Senate leaders are said to be still moving forward with their bill. As drafted, the bill favors centralized exchanges (like FTX) over their decentralized competitors.