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FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried Buys 7.6% Stake in Robinhood Markets; Sends Shares Surging

2 mins
Updated by Andrew Rossow
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In Brief

  • On Friday, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried purchased a 7.6% stake in Robinhood Markets.
  • Robinhoos shares surged 33% after reports spread of Bankman-Fried's investment.
  • Bankman-Fried says his reasoning behind investing was because it was an “attractive investment.”
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On Friday, an SEC filing revealed that FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has taken a 7.6 percent stake in Robinhood Markets, which sent shares of the digital brokerage surging up to 33 percent.

Emergent Fidelity Technologies, which Bankman-Fried serves as a majority owner, purchased over 56 million shares for $648 million, according to the regulatory filing. The filing also explained Bankman-Fried’s reasoning behind his stock purchase, explaining that this was simply an “attractive investment,” and nothing more.

The filing did explain that while Bankman-Fried does not expect to influence or take control over Robinhood, he would prospectively consider enhancing shareholder value or acquiring more shares.

“The Reporting Persons intend to hold the Shares as an investment, and do not currently have any intention of taking any action toward changing or influencing the control of the Issuer,” the filing says. 

Robinhood’s 52-week low

While strongly associated with meme stock trading it helped to popularize, Robinhood’s brokerage app for retail investors has recently been augmenting its offerings for cryptocurrency trading, which were introduced in 2018.

Before jumping down, Robinhood shares jumped 36% at one point following news of the FTX CEO’s recent investment – up last at around 25 percent, according to CNBC.

Despite being among the most anticipated initial public offerings of last summer, shares of the company are currently down over 70%, hitting a 52-week low earlier this week.

While the company acknowledged that it had no plans to further invest into cryptocurrencies, it recently unveiled its crypto wallet feature. In spite of falling numbers from its crypto trading offerings, approximately 2 million people had signed up for the waitlist for its crypto wallet feature, which was released with some notable restrictions.

FTX developments

Meanwhile, crypto exchange FTX, of which Bankman-Fried is co-founder and CEO, has also made some recent developments.

This week, FTX US appointed former Fidelity Investments executive Marissa MacDonald as chief compliance officer of a soon-to-be-formed unit in New York. The move is part of the crypto exchange’s efforts to secure a license from the New York State Department of Financial Services, as it seeks approval to operate in the state.

In addition to expertise in financial services, MacDonald also has experience within the digital space. While having worked for Fidelity for 14 years, her most recent position was that of chief compliance officer for digital assets. It is this combination of capacities that FTX US President Brett Harrison said would make her “invaluable” to FTX’s efforts.

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Nicholas Pongratz
Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.
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