Despite Funds Lost on FTX, “Shark” Kevin O’Leary Would Still Invest in SBF

kevin o'leary portrait ftx sbf in the background

Despite losing all his assets in the FTX exchange, Kevin O’Leary, entrepreneur and a former star of the business reality television series Shark Tank, says that Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) may still be worth investing in.

In a recent interview, the Canadian entrepreneur shared his views on the recent collapse of the FTX exchange, its founder SBF, and how the collapse affected his portfolio. 

Despite the allegations of mismanagement of funds, O’Leary defended SBF. He even suggested that he would invest in SBF again, despite losing all his funds in FTX. 

When asked a hypothetical question about whether he would invest in SBF again, O’Leary said:

“Yes, and I'll tell you how I would do it in a different context. He would not have operational control of the assets. He would have trading control.”

O’Leary also added that he expects SBF to continue his involvement in the crypto industry in the future. Of course, that depends on whether SFB gets involved in a “bad situation personally,” O’Leary said, possibly alluding to potential prosecution. 

“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,” O'Leary said.

O’Leary’s FTX Losses

O’Leary, a former paid spokesperson for the exchange, had significant exposure to FTX. In the interview, he admitted that FTX was one of his “bad investments” and that he took a “huge hit” from the crash. 

“With FTX, we took a huge hit. I was a shareholder of FTX International, a shareholder of FTX US. We had multiple accounts on the FTX platform, which are completely locked out,” he said.

O’Leary revealed that diversification helped him save most of his assets. He did not disclose the amount he held in FTX US or FTT tokens. The millionaire also said that he would never put any money in an exchange without regulatory oversight.

"I'm certainly as hell not putting them in an unregulated exchange - no chance. and I'm not putting it on an exchange that's in litigation with the SEC - no chance," he said.

‘Silver Lining’ of FTX Collapse

O’Leary was just one of many big players that lost money after FTX, a major crypto exchange, filed for bankruptcy.

“I've talked to many other institutional investors that use the platform they also have zero balances,” O'Leary said, describing the collapse as an “extraordinary situation.”

Despite the huge systemic hit on crypto, O’Leary still believes there is a silver lining in the FTX collapse. There’s “extreme pressure” on regulators to look into crypto, he says. That is important because regulation could help attract bigger players in the space.

“This whole industry can't advance as it should without regulation because we can't attract sovereign wealth and pension to it," O'Leary said.

So far, these pension and sovereign wealth funds have mostly stayed away from crypto. According to O’Leary, the reason is the lack of a regulated platform which they can use. “They’re certainly not going to invest in an unregulated, rogue platform,” he added.

“I'm going to be spending a lot more time in Washington really firing up my voice on getting this regulation through," he added, saying that he's "tired of waiting for it."

On the Flipside

  • Just last month, O’Leary suggested that FTX would be the last place where investors would get in trouble. Moreover, he was an investor and a paid spokesperson for the company. 
  • O’Leary was not the only investor that promoted FTX. However, many now believe that FTX showed multiple warning signs ahead of time. This includes the allegations of conflicts of interest, peddling influence, and drug use among the FTX leadership.

Why You Should Care

Kevin O’Leary is a seasoned investor, regularly sharing insights on how institutions and accredited investors see crypto. Due to their wealth, these actors have a huge effect on crypto markets.

Find out more about the FTX collapse:
FTX Group Files for Bankruptcy, Sam Bankman-Fried Resigns as CEO

See how the latest development in the FTX collapse could hurt Ethereum:
FTX Hacker Hoarding Ethereum (ETH) for Possible Market Selloff

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed to be financial legal or tax advice. Trading Forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs poses a considerable risk of loss

Author

David Marsanic is a business journalist specializing in tech and crypto. He focuses on institutional investors, venture capital and the intersection between DeFi and tradFi. He wants to help retail investors understand how major financial institutions impact the crypto space. He has been active in blockchain and crypto since 2020 and believes that there is huge potential in decentralized tech and finance.