The end of crypto winter is just around the corner, says crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried

The end of crypto winter is just around the corner, says crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried
The end of crypto winter is just around the corner, says crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried

The return of crypto winters – a term that describes periodic downturns that hit the crypto industry – has everyone feeling cold. The most common question on the lips of both retailers and fintech giants is “When will it end?”

If FTX CEO and multi-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried is right, the depths of winter have probably already passed and spring is on its way.

“I think we have already seen the worst of it; there’s a little more to come, but it’s not too bad, says Bankman-Fried, who is better known as SBF. Fortune for an exclusive cover story.

“I think some bitcoin miners are going to have some problems, but I think we’re talking about a few $100 million in total pain there, not billions,” he added.

But the 30-year-old added an important caveat to his rosy prediction: the crypto winter will end, but only if the economy does not withstand further major external shocks that have caused stock and crypto prices to fall in the first place.

“If the Nasdaq has another 25% left to fall, and if interest rates actually go up to 7%, and if we’re going to be in a recession for two and a half years — in that world, I think Bitcoin could go down to $15 K or $10K. Then there could be another round of carnage coming from that,” he noted.

The recent crypto winter brought what was once a $3 trillion asset class temporarily below $1 trillion in cumulative market capitalization. The falling prices sent Bitcoin, which makes up 41% of the crypto market, to lows not seen since the height of the pandemic in December 2020. At $22,900 as of Friday, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency is still trading at approx. 51% from where it started the year.

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The metaphorical cold also froze a number of once-thriving crypto companies such as Three Arrows Capital, Terraform Labs and Voyager Digital.

But FTX has weathered the storm, and indeed the SBF said the downturn has “been a healthy weed” for the industry.

“I think people have had to rethink how they value assets and have to be a little more grounded in that and realize that ungrounded thinking only works in euphoric times,” he said Fortune.

Because FTX has outperformed others during the downturn, Bankman-Fried has gone on a spending spree that has made him either a white knight figure or a modern-day robber baron depending on your perspective.

This year, FTX bought stakes in the stock exchange IEX Group Inc. and the stock trading platform Robinhood. In the crypto space, FTX has provided millions in liquidity to option-to-buy crypto lender BlockFi and last month offered to buy all of bankrupt crypto platform Voyager’s digital assets and most of its loans, in a joint proposal with two other SBF-led companies.

To learn more about where SBF sees crypto prices going, as well as his insights on dealmaking and the future of the industry, be sure to check out the full Fortune conversation.

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