Axios Pro: Fintech Deals

June 21, 2022

Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Welcome back, fintech friends. Happy Tuesday.

Situational awareness: It's an insane week for conferences. Ryan is at NFT.NYC and Lucinda will be at Collision after a single day at NFT.NYC. Come say hi. 👋

1 big thing: SBF to the rescue

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sam Bankman-Fried is helping to shore up the balance sheets of some of the biggest crypto firms in the world, providing financing to both BlockFi and to Voyager Digital.

Why it matters: By acting as a white knight, the FTX CEO is seeking to head off any further contagion that could collapse the broader crypto industry.

Details: On Friday, crypto brokerage Voyager Digital signed a non-binding term sheet with Alameda Research, the crypto firm that SBF owns. The deal was for two revolving lines of credit.

Subsequently, BlockFi announced Tuesday morning that it signed a term sheet with FTX for a $250 million revolving line of credit.

Context: The agreements come at a time when crypto lenders Celsius Network and Babel Finance have suspended customer withdrawals while trying to shore up liquidity.

Flashback: This isn't the first time Bankman-Fried's companies have provided financing to another member of the crypto ecosystem.

  • Last August, FTX loaned $120 million to Liquid Global after the Japanese crypto exchange lost $90 million in a hack.
  • FTX later acquired Liquid and all of its subsidiaries in a push to launch licensed operations in Japan.

What they're saying: In an interview with NPR over the weekend, Bankman-Fried said:

  • "I do feel like we have a responsibility to seriously consider stepping in, even if it is at a loss to ourselves, to stem contagion.
  • "Even if we weren't the ones who caused it, or weren't involved in it. I think that's what's healthy for the ecosystem, and I want to do what can help it grow and thrive."

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