- Sam Bankman-Fried met with David Solomon in the Caribbean in March as the banker tried to woo the crypto billionaire, sources at the meeting have revealed.
- Goldman is reportedly pushing to partner on market-making for crypto and sees FTX as a perfect fit in addition to advisory services if FTX ever went public.
It’s not that long ago when cryptocurrency companies were viewed as black sheep by their financial services counterparts and could barely get basic financial services. Now, as the market tops $2 trillion, the big banks are lining up to join the industry. As sources have revealed, Goldman Sachs is the latest, with its CEO meeting FTX exchange founder in a bid to woo him to join forces.
Sources with knowledge of the matter told the Financial Times that David Solomon, the CEO of Wall Street banking conglomerate Goldman Sachs met with FTX CEO and the second-richest crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried in the Caribbean last month to discuss possible collaboration between the two entities.
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FT reports that one of the issues the two discussed is how the bank can assist FTX in its interactions with US regulators, with a particular focus on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The exchange applied to the watchdog in March seeking to sell leveraged crypto derivatives to retail traders and settle such trades directly. This would cut out intermediaries such as the banks like Goldman and other financial giants from the lucrative process.
FTX is one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, facilitating $8.2 billion in spot and derivatives trading in the past day. This has seen it attract some of the world’s biggest investors, from Softbank to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. In its January funding round, FTX was valued at $32 billion – which is more than the largest bank in Germany – and there were rumors that it could go the Coinbase way and list its shares publicly.
This was another area of discussion between the two CEOs, with Goldman seeking to be a key advisor for FTX in future funding rounds as well as its IPO if it ever conducts one. The bank already has some experience in this field, having been a key player in the Coinbase IPO which was a landmark moment for the crypto industry.
Solomon also sought to woo SBF on future collaboration opportunities between the two entities, including on market making in crypto trades, a sector in which yet another Wall Street giant, Ken Griffin’s Citadel Securities, is exploring.
Goldman is also seeking to be the bank of choice for FTX, a drastic shift from a few years back when major banks including Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Citi and JPMorgan were turning away crypto companies.
Related: Goldman Sachs plans to offer OTC Crypto options trading for Ether ahead of Ethereum 2.0 upgrade
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