Influential Crypto Figures: Who is Sam Bankman-Fried?

Founder of multiple crypto protocols, the MIT grad is constantly innovating and doesn’t look like he will stop anytime soon. Bankman-Fried has fast become a major player in the crypto world.

By
John Tunney
on
June 28, 2021
Category:
Biography

Introduction to Bankman-Fried 

Sam Bankman-Fried is the CEO and founder of FTX, a prominent exchange, and Alameda Research, a quantitative trading firm. The 29-year-old billionaire is massively famous in the crypto world due to his massive involvement in the evolving crypto ecosystem. 

Fried is a brilliant engineer whose charisma and passion have brought celebrities and athletes to the crypto world, including when he brought NFL superstar Tom Brady to talk crypto. Fried is also a career altruist who plans to donate much of his wealth and earnings through FTX to charity over the course of his life.

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A Brief History 

Sam was born in Stanford, California. He was the son of two law professors from Stanford University. Sam eventually attended the Massachusetts Institutes of Technology (MIT), one of the most acclaimed and highly regarded schools in the United States. At the Boston area school, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics in 2014. 

While in school, Sam met William MacAskill, the founder of 80,000 Hours, an organization aimed at maximizing people’s potential to give back and help. Sam grew close with MacAskill and introduced the MIT grad’s into a life of philanthropy and altruism. Sam currently sits on the board of directors for Centre for Effective Altruism, the parent company of 80,000 Hours. 

Early in Sam’s professional career, he received an internship focused on quantitative trading at Jane Street Capital. Sam naturally gravitated to this work and quickly found he enjoyed it. Soon after, he began working as a trader at Jane Street Capital's international ETF desk. 

Following his job at Jane Street Capital, he left in October of 2017 to launch his first company: Alameda Research. The quantitative crypto trading platform propelled Sam into the crypto industry. He now lives in Hong Kong. 

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Bankman-Fried’s Relationship With Crypto 

Sam Bankman-Fried’s founding of Alameda Research was the first sign of his potential to make a difference in the crypto space. Besides a little bit of trouble in 2019 with a lawsuit involving alleged market manipulation that was quickly thrown out, Alameda Research has been one of the strongest crypto platforms in the industry.  According to Decrypt, the suite was filed by the Bitcoin Manipulation Abatement LLC, alleging that the CEO and multiple employees attempted to manipulate BTC on Binance. Alameda pointed out the inaccurate in the suite and labeled it as a "nuisance suite."


Source: Alameda Logo

Alameda Research has become a powerful crypto exchange and management platform.  The company has two of the top ten most successful crypto trading accounts on its platform, and the two accounts combine for a massive $60 million in profits from crypto trading. 

On May 8th, 2019, Alameda Research company launched FTX, a crypto derivatives exchange. FTX launched with an all-star team of hand-selected Wall Street traders and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Binance quickly bought lots of FTX tokens, strategizing a long-term hold with FTX. Soon after its launch, FTX saw a daily trading volume of half a billion dollars. 

By 2020, Bankman-Friend became a crypto household name, becoming incredibly popular in the space. But Sam wasn’t finished yet. Also, in 2020, FTX purchased Blockfolio, an app used by retail investing consumers to keep track of the value of their cryptocurrency portfolios. Within the same year pandemic-ridden year, Bankman-Fried would launch another project, this time on the Solana blockchain, further showing his versatility in crypto.

Alameda Research 

Sam Bankman-Fried has three big projects that he is known for in the crypto world. The first big project is Alameda Research which has transformed the crypto space and showcased the unlimited potential Bankman-Fried has. 

Alameda Research has a full-scale global operation with the ability to trade on all major exchanges and markets. Today it manages over $100 million in digital assets and trades around $600 million to $1.5 billion per day. The platform offers major coins and altcoins as well as their derivatives.

Source: FTX exchange stats from May 2021

FTX

Proving that Bankman-Fried knew how to provide and create even more value in the crypto industry, he founded FTX in 2019. FTX is a global cryptocurrency exchange and ranks high among the top derivatives based on 24-hour volume trading. It is currently ranked 6th by CoinMarketCap for derivatives.

FTX differentiates itself from most standard exchanges by offering innovative products, including industry-first derivatives, options, volatility products, and leveraged tokens. FTX developed a platform robust enough for professional trading firms while at the same time being intuitive enough for first-time users. 

Serum

Bankman-Fried had his concerns about Ethereum and the potentiality for scalability. Sam Bankman-Fried launched Serum on the Solana blockchain in August of 2020. With Solana’s super quick transaction speeds and extremely low costs, the MIT grad looks to overcome his concerns and build better on-dex infrastructure on the new blockchain. 

According to Coinbureau, Serum is unlike other DEXs, as Serum features order book-based trading like centralized cryptocurrency exchanges. Serum beats its competitors with its ability to handle up to 65,000 transactions per second, matching the current transaction speed of the underlying Solana Blockchain. The protocol is also interoperable with Ethereum and Bitcoin. 

Serum is one of the earliest major projects to emerge on the Solana blockchain and looks to implement DeFi into everyday industries. As the first on-chain Dex providing institutional flows of capital, Bankman-Fried’s latest project could be his finest.

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Notable Events Sam Bankman-Fried Has Been Part of:

  • 2013: Sam Bankman-Fried met William MacAskill in 2013 while attending college, which changed his perspective on life and wealth, turning Sam into a career altruist.  
  • 2014: Bankman-Fried graduated from MIT with a Bachelor's degree in Physics 
  • 2017: Bankman-Fried and his team successfully launched Alameda Research 
  • 2019: Bankman-Fried launched FTX, a crypto exchange platform. 
  • 2019: Alameda Research was accused of market manipulation. The suit was quickly thrown out.
  • August 2020: Bankman-Fried launched Serum, a crypto exchange that runs on the Solana blockchain and hopes to integrate crypto into everyday industries. 
  • September 2020: Bankman-Fried was given control of SushiSwap by Chef Nomi after Nomi sold 38,000 Ethereum and crashed SUSHI’s price.
  • 2020: Bankman-Fried donated the second-largest amount to President Joe Biden’s 2020 election. 
  • 2021: Bankman-Fried has begun to take on the role of one of the more prominent figures in the crypto space, finding himself in magazines and on large panels and conferences.


Significance in Crypto

Sam Bankman-Fried is now one of the most prominent figures in crypto. He leads several massive crypto projects and has been the creative force pushing each to innovate and develop. He has launched many projects, all of which have done very well and have given him a steady track record. Veteran crypto investors also widely respect his philosophy on investing, and his ideas are always given serious attention. 

Bankman-Fried has also become more integrated into the crypto influencer spotlight. He now has over 200k Twitter followers and openly talks crypto. The MIT grad is now a huge promoter of the crypto industry through numerous channels. He has embraced the limelight and shows no sign of slowing down. 

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John Tunney

John Tunney is an accomplished analyst and crypto enthusiast. The UCLA alum has been actively reporting and blogging for 3 years, and has a passion for all things finance.

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