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Kevin O’Leary Would Still Invest in SBF Despite FTX Bankruptcy

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Despite losing money on FTX, Canadian businessman and Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary believes Sam Bankman Fried’s future businesses are worth investing in.

O’Leary recently disclosed the extent of his exposure to the exchange, arguing that the company’s demise has a “silver lining.” Mr. Wonderful admitted in an interview on Tuesday that FTX was one of his “bad investments,” but that it is still safe due to his asset diversification.

The investor took a “significant hit.” He claimed to be a shareholder of FTX and FTX US, with multiple accounts with the exchange that have now been frozen. 

“I’ve talked to many other institutional investors that use the platform – they also have zero balances,” he added. “Everybody’s talking to their accountants and lawyers, and auditors, and compliance departments about this. It’s an extraordinary situation.”

O’Leary previously worked as an FTX spokesperson. He said last month that the exchange was the last place he’d expect to “get in trouble.” He also predicted in June that crypto would hit rock bottom once a “big player” was eliminated, which he now believes was FTX.

Another silver lining, according to O’Leary, is that the exchange’s debacle is putting pressure on regulators to provide clearer industry guidelines in the future. Key pieces of crypto legislation, such as the Digital Commodity Act, are receiving renewed attention after languishing in Congress.

Meanwhile, the investor intends to transfer all of his assets from unregulated exchanges to Bitbuy, a regulated Canadian exchange. The company is governed by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and is prohibited by law from mixing user funds in the manner that FTX is suspected of doing.

Cold storage custody of assets, according to O’Leary, is not an option for firms mandated to limit their crypto exposure to a certain percentage of their net worth. As a result, assets must be available for trading at all times so that he can sell specific assets while remaining within their “diversified mandate.”

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 “You are going to see billions of dollars leave unregulated and exchanges looking for somewhere in the world where they can be put safely. That, right now, is Canada.”

In contrast to the US, Canada was the first country in the world to approve a Bitcoin Spot ETF, which tracks the spot price of Bitcoin. Since then, it has also approved Bitcoin and Ethereum mixed ETFs. Mr. Wonderful insists that FTX’s former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, does not have a “evil bone in his body” despite his losses.

“You can love him or hate him given what’s happened, but I think we can all admit he was one of the most brilliant traders in the crypto universe,” he said. 

If Bankman-Fried had only “trading control” over assets as opposed to “operational control,” O’Leary said he would support the former billionaire in a hypothetical new cryptocurrency venture. He argued that, in terms of understanding how digital assets function, the crypto tycoon is a “unusual one percent person.”