Crypto

Crypto mogul skips SALT conference after acquiring 30% stake in SkyBridge

Last week, Sam Bankman-Fried spent $45 million to buy a 30% stake in Skybridge Capital, a hedge fund run by Anthony Scaramucci. This week, Bankman-Fried missed the annual SALT conference in New York, the biggest event of the year for SkyBridge.

Last year, the 30-year-old billionaire was one of the main participants in SALT, actively promoting his cryptocurrency exchange FTX to countless investors and journalists. But Bankman-Freed was unable to leave his residence in the Bahamas this week, according to the source.

Instead, Bankman-Freed appeared virtually, despite the fact that his crypto firm FTX was the main sponsor of this week’s conference. Earlier this year, FTX and SkyBridge launched the FTX Bahamas crypto event.

“It’s weird – if Bankman-Fried were on SALT, the deal would be conference news,” said one of the conference attendees. “You would think he would show up to increase his investment and show support.”

Meanwhile, insiders noted that this week’s SALT hearings at New York’s Javits Center were significantly less focused on crypto than last year, although web3 and NFT remained the topic of panel discussions. Indeed, one person involved in persuading people to sign up told The Post, “I had to reassure potential contributors that crypto wouldn’t be as heavy this year as it was last year.”

Scaramucci, who served 10 days as former President Trump’s communications chief, remains bullish on crypto despite his crypto-focused funds shrinking as a reservoir of digital assets this year, according to reports.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s venture arm just spent millions buying a stake in SkyBridge Capital, but he wasn’t at SkyBridge SALT’s flagship conference.Bloomberg via Getty Images

Scaramucci, in a statement to the Post, said he shouldn’t “read too much” about Bankman-Fried’s absence, and that FTX was well represented there by a large number of employees. “I think the investment he just made is a statement enough,” Scaramucci added.

FTX declined to comment.

Legion Strategies, one of SkyBridge’s cryptocurrency funds, is down about 30% this year. In July, Skybridge had to suspend a $230 million withdrawal from the Legion Strategies fund, according to a Bloomberg report. More than 20% of the fund is invested in investments related to cryptocurrency. SkyBridge’s $2 billion flagship fund has about $900 million to withdraw, according to a July report from DealBook.

Although this week’s event featured several strong players, including Todd Boley, the Californian billionaire who just bought FS Chelsea, it did not feature many of the hedge fund names the conference is widely known for.

Last year’s list of speakers included financial titans such as Point72’s Steven Cohen, Third Point’s Dan Loeb, Avenue’s Marc Lasry and ARK Invest’s Cathy Wood.

Of course, as market volatility persists, many investors may be much more focused on keeping their funds afloat than they were on conference NFTs.

ScaramucciEarlier this year, SkyBridge Scaramucci partnered with FTX to launch a cryptocurrency conference in the Bahamas.Sports file via Getty Images

One financier who chose to skip this year joked, “Now is not the time for most investors to brag about their results.”

The 30-year-old Bankman-Fried is worth around $12.4 billion and has become something of a crypto savior during the massive digital coin crash, according to Forbes. He provided BlockFi, a crypto bank, with a $250 million loan and set aside $500 million to rescue crypto broker Voyager Digital during the summer when the crypto market crashed.

“It’s strange that Bankman-Fried wasn’t there…but it’s only a $45 million deal,” the conference attendee added.

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