Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried has said digital assets may be in an “autumn” – rather than the “winter” that many fear.
He told Insider there’s certainly been a slowdown, but there’s still plenty of excitement around cryptocurrencies.
The 29-year-old said the Fed is likely to remain the key driver of digital asset markets in coming months.
Billionaire crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried has said a crypto “autumn” — rather than a “winter” — may be here, adding that the Federal Reserve will remain the key driver of digital asset markets in the coming months.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have tumbled since hitting record highs in November, as investors brace for the Fed to raise interest rates as it grapples with red-hot inflation.
The sharp falls and lower trading volumes on exchanges have stirred chatter of a “crypto winter” — a period when prices fall and stay low for a year or more.
But Bankman-Fried, who co-founded the FTX crypto exchange in 2019, told Insider on Tuesday: “I don’t think it’s really a winter. We’re still seeing a lot of activity in this space, and a lot of excitement.”
Instead, he said an “autumn” may be a better way to think about it. “Certainly there has been a slowdown,” he said.
The 29-year-old, who’s worth around $25 billion, said Fed policy is the single biggest driver of the crypto market right now.
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Cryptocurrencies have fallen sharply alongside a slide in shares in fast-growing but unprofitable technology companies, as the Fed prepares to end the stimulus that boosted riskier investments in 2020 and 2021.
Investors have moved towards more economically sensitive bets, such as on bank stocks and commodities. Bitcoin has tumbled from close to $69,000 in November to trade at around $46,000 on Wednesday, and other major tokens such as ethereum have suffered similar falls.
“To the extent that Fed policy remains one of the core drivers of market movements, I think we’re going to continue to see that pretty strong correlation over the next, probably, months,” Bankman-Fried said.
Any crypto slowdown hasn’t dampened investor enthusiasm for Bankman-Fried’s FTX exchange. Earlier this month, it raised $400 million from major investment firms to hit a valuation of $32 billion.
Bankman-Fried told Insider that there’s been a slight slowdown of trading activity on FTX. But he said: “Volumes are not down a ton, and I think part of that is that things have been volatile as well.”
The exchange has been on a marketing blitz, and recently paid top dollar to run a commercial featuring comedian Larry David at the Super Bowl. Fellow exchanges Coinbase and Crypto.com also ran ads, in a sign of the growing wealth of the industry.