Dec 21, 2022
FTX Paid for Blockfolio Deal Mostly in FTT Token It Invented
(Bloomberg) -- FTX, the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, used a token it invented to fund a its takeover of trading platform Blockfolio, according to financial statements obtained by Bloomberg News.
FTX paid roughly $84 million in 2020 to take a majority stake in Blockfolio, in what was then among the largest crypto acquisitions. About 94% was paid in FTT tokens, a cryptocurrency that FTX created, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg.
Details of the Blockfolio acquisition, which haven’t been previously reported, offer a glimpse of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s appetite for whimsical financial engineering, and an early hunger to amass customers through large-scale deals. Bankman-Fried doubled down on that ethos this year, going on a buyout binge for firms including Voyager and BlockFi, although those deals were thwarted when FTX imploded in November.
At the time the Blockfolio deal was announced, news outlets reported FTX financed it with a mix of cash, crypto and equity, without further details. The arrangement heralded big things for FTX, which Bankman-Fried founded only a year before. The agreement gave it a 52% equity stake in Blockfolio and valued the company at almost $160 million — with the option to buy the rest within two years, the financial statements show.
A spokesperson for Bankman-Fried declined to comment.
The disgraced crypto entrepreneur faces criminal charges including fraud. Regulators allege that he misused FTX customer money for luxury real estate and political donations, and to bankroll sister trading firm Alameda Research.
The FTT token played a starring role in FTX’s demise. The weeks-long saga touched off after CoinDesk reported the exchange’s native token accounted for a sizable portion of Alameda’s balance sheet — and rival Binance Holdings Ltd. CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao announced plans to sell large sums of it.
As of Wednesday evening, Bankman-Fried was poised to be extradited to the US from the Bahamas, where FTX was based and where he was imprisoned.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.