KEY POINTS

  • The FTX CEO has donated $40 million to to electoral campaigns this year
  • He plans to fund 2024 electoral campaigns with a $1 billion ceiling
  • FTX also decided to save crypto firms that are currently in a financial crunch

Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has since 2020 donated millions to the Democrats while his co-CEO, Ryan Salame, donated $4 million to a Republican PAC earlier this year. It seems that the FTX executives might be playing "both sides of the aisle."

Bankman-Fried, popularly known as SBF in the crypto world, had spent $10 million-plus becoming the second-largest donor in Joe Biden's race for president, and over the past 12 months, he has hired a network of political operatives, spending millions to shape the Democratic House primaries.

Additionally, the 30-year-old billionaire, who is worth $20 billion, has decided to spend a sum ranging from $100 million to $1 billion in the 2024 presidential candidate race, as per an interview with American Journalist Jacob Goldstein.

“As for how much more than that, I don’t know. It really does depend on what happens. It’s really dependent on exactly who’s running where for what (..) Yeah, I think that’s a decent thing to look at, as a sort of…I would hate to say hard ceiling, but at least as sort of a soft ceiling, I would say, yeah," he said in May.

The FTX CEO donated over $10 million to support Carrick Flynn, who was the Democratic primary candidate for a congressional seat in Oregan this year. Flynn lost despite support from SBF.

On the other hand, the co-CEO of FTX, Ryan Salame, donated $4 million to a political action committee (PAC) that was associated with Republican candidates, hinting that the billionaire might be attempting to get closer to the rival parties.

“We’ve never seen something like this on this scale,” Bradley Beychok, co-founder of American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC, told Politico. “On our side, there’s a small pool of people who write these kinds of checks and they tend to be the same folks. But Sam, to his credit, came right in with a big splash.”

Beychok believes that Bankman-Fried "could make a big difference for Democratic candidates — if he wants.”

According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, SBF has donated around $40 million to electoral campaigns this year. However, he told Politico Thursday that he plans to "only spend about half that amount during the general election."

Politico also stated that SBF is more motivated to promote new candidates in safe seats.

"There have been a lot of times when I have been a bigger supporter of Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. That’s not — that’s not an immovable fact about the world,” Bankman-Fried said. “I am legitimately worried about doing things that will make people view me as partisan when it’s not how I feel … because I think it both misses what I’m trying to do and makes it harder for me to act constructively. And I think I probably started a little bit too late in taking a more proactive role in discussing how I view this."

"Can he suddenly spur bipartisanship by spending a couple million in a few races? No,” one Democratic donor adviser told Politico. “He thinks he can reshape Washington and he can’t.”

Interestingly, the FTX CEO also claims to save crypto firms from getting bankrupt due to liquidity issues and a volatile market amidst the current bearish pressure. According to CNBC, SBF claims that multiple firms are reaching out to FTX for help as the crypto exchange aims to bail out firms from their current financial crunch.

SBF also confirmed that the firm has a "couple billion" dollars to support promising cryptocurrency firms.

Alexander Leishman, the founder and CEO of River, a platform to buy and mine Bitcoin, commented on SBF's recent political donations.

"SBF is playing both sides of the aisle. His co-CEO donates to the Republicans and SBF donates to the Democrats. Classic pincer movement. Players of the game," he said.

"SBF is showing up to DC with buckets of money," he stated.

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried poses for a picture, in an unspecified location, in this undated handout picture, obtained by Reuters on July 5, 2022. FTX/Handout via REUTERS
FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried poses for a picture, in an unspecified location, in this undated handout picture, obtained by Reuters on July 5, 2022. FTX/Handout via REUTERS Reuters / FTX
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