One of America’s Youngest Billionaires Details His Biggest Financial Mistake
Nov 24, 2021
Sam Bankman-Fried may have made his wealth by starting crypto exchange FTX, but he is still learning about some elements of the industry.
Indeed, according to Yahoo Finance, the 29-year-old billionaire's worst financial blunder was waiting too long to enter the crypto craze.
At the Crypto Goes Mainstream conference, Bankman-Fried noted, "The worst mistake I made was not getting engaged sooner."
Bankman-Fried went over some of the topics he wished he had understood about sooner, ranging from the broad themes that dominate the crypto industry to the more technical requirements of running an exchange.
"I believe there is a lot of potential in the market that I didn't realize existed until last year," Bankman-Fried said. "I believe one of them is considering how a holistic customer finance experience may look."
Bankman-Fried reported a squandered chance in 2013 when he took a passing interest in the bitcoin arbitrage bot built by his buddy Gary Wang.
"I had a look at it, '' according to Bankman-Fried. "It was actually quite enjoyable. It didn't work out. We'd get into crypto together five years later and go on to co-found FTX. Consider what would happen if we went down that rabbit hole a lot sooner."
"Just knowing some of the regulatory frameworks that we encounter," he noted, is another area of opportunity.
"I suppose I'd been underestimating the possibility of delivering new inventive items in a permitted manner," he remarked. "And I believe it was a mistake, and I believe we could have started on several projects sooner than we did."
FTX, which launched in 2018, obtained $900 million in a fundraising round earlier this year, valuing the exchange at $18 billion. (In 2017, Bankman-Fried formed Alameda Research, a trading business.)
The user registration process at FTX irritated Bankman-Fried at times.
"Every time I attempt to guide myself through it, something irritates me," he remarked.
Inefficiencies in the registration process, he explained, create speed bumps that cause potential new users to leave the process completely, slowing uptake.
"It's not that difficult to perform at least a passable job," he remarked. "I believe we're starting immediately. We've made a few modifications in the last few weeks, but I kind of wish we'd taken it more seriously earlier, and a lot of people had brought it up to us."