In a recent interview, FTX CEO and crypto celebrity Sam Bankman-Fried has revealed his thoughts on the current state of the DeFi industry, and why he isn’t using Ethereum for his new decentralized exchange.
Sam Bankman-Fried, or SBF as he prefers to be called, has become one of the biggest names in DeFi this year. The outspoken boss of Alameda Research and the FTX derivatives exchange recently spoke to The Defiant’s Camila Russo on a few contentious topics in the industry.
Russo also spoke to Anatoly Yakovenko, the creator of the Solana blockchain which is angling to become another in the long list of ‘Ethereum killers.’ FTX announced it would be building a decentralized exchange called Serum on top of Solana back in July which is how the two are connected.
Bankman-Fried Big on Arbitrage But Not Ethereum
In the interview, SBF admits that he was an ETF trader at the New York-based brokerage firm Jane Street Capital before moving into crypto in 2017, driven by ‘gigantic’ arbitrage opportunities. Arbitrage can be defined as exploiting the price differences of identical or similar financial instruments or assets, in this case, cryptocurrencies.
SBF has big ambitions for his exchanges, which he envisions more than one billion traders will be a part of. He added that in order to achieve this goal, scaling will play a pivotal role — one that even Ethereum 2.0 won’t be able to provide;
“But if we’re looking to scale to that number of people, it’s not just Ethereum and it’s also not just 100 times faster than Ethereum, we need like a million times faster than Ethereum.”
A billion users would make up nearly 13% of the world’s population, and 22% of every person that even has access to the internet, so it may take a while for that lofty ambition to come to fruition.
No Incentives, No DeFi
When asked about the current state of the decentralized finance industry, SBF stated that there would not be much left when the incentives are gone. This has been clearly evidenced by this summer’s DeFi yield hopping habits as farmers jumped from protocol to protocol seeking the next quick buck. This resulted in lost liquidity from some of the major platforms.
“Did you successfully build a really great product and user base and ecosystem while they were there? I think it deserves mixed marks for a lot of DeFi right now.”
SBF sees nothing wrong with arbitraging on DeFi platforms, which generally only benefits the whales, of which he is one of the largest.
When asked about centralization and manipulation he somewhat stridently exclaimed;
“… it’s f*cking ridiculous the central claim, that it’s bad or evil or manipulative to use a borrow/lending protocol to lend one out asset in order to borrow another.”