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Democrats' second-biggest donor is the biggest billionaire loser on record, shedding 94% of his fortune overnight
Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Democrats' second-biggest donor is the biggest billionaire loser on record, shedding 94% of his fortune overnight

Election night may have been rough for quite a few Democrat politicians, but perhaps none so much as their benefactor, Sam Bankman-Fried. Once touted as the "next Warren Buffett," Friedman managed to lose nearly 94% of his estimated $15.6 billion fortune on Election Day.

Extra to losing the supermajority of his Democratic Party slush fund, the 30-year-old also announced on Nov. 8 that his crypto exchange FTX was being sold to a rival firm to remedy a liquidity crunch.

The Democrat 'megadonor' empties his deep pockets

In August, Fortune referred to Bankman-Fried as a "trading wunderkind whose ambition knows no limits."

Bankman-Fried founded the Bahamas-based crypto exchange FTX in 2019.

Investors valued the company at $18 billion in 2021. A year later, its value, coupled with its U.S. operations, had a combined value of $40 billion.

At the time of FTX's 2022 valuation, Bankman-Fried reportedly boasted that his company could devour CME Group Inc. or Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

With a growing company and unchecked confidence, Bankman-Fried determined he would help reshape the American political landscape or at the very least bolster the Democrat status quo.

According to Politico, Bankman-Fried was the Democrats' "newest megadonor" ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. He donated $10 million to then-candidate Joe Biden in 2020.

This past year, he reportedly hired a network of "political operatives" and spent at least $39,826,856 in an effort to help Democrats win their House races.

The now-former FTX CEO was the second-biggest individual Democratic donor this election cycle, after leftist billionaire George Soros, according to a Fox Business report.

Bankman-Fried told Jacob Goldstein of "What's Your Problem?" that he might donate "north of $100 million" and up to $1 billion to Democrats in the 2024 presidential elections.

The once-multibillionaire told Bloomberg in April that he planned to become a crypto Robin Hood and give away all his money, only to live off 1% of his earnings.

While giving was allegedly in Bankman-Fried's nature, losing was in his future.

Begrudgingly setting records

Bloomberg reported that Bankman-Fried's Tuesday loss of 94% of his $15.6 billion net worth was "the biggest one-day collapse ever among billionaires" the publication has tracked to date, when accounting proportional losses.

Bankman-Fried's downfall was precipitated by a liquidity crunch at FTX, accelerated in turn by a rival's successful efforts to undermine investor confidence in FTX's finances. There were reportedly around $6 billion of withdrawals within 72 hours ahead of Election Day.

In desperate need of a bailout, FTX looked to its biggest competitor for rescue. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, who had himself lost $79.4 billion during the crypto crash, came in with a bailout.

In a now-deleted Monday tweet, Bankman-Fried assured investors prior to the complete collapse of his crypto exchange, "FTX is fine. Assets are fine." He added: "FTX has enough to cover all client holdings."

Bloomberg suggested otherwise, noting that Binance's acquisition will likely wipe out existing FTX investors such as Softbank Vision Fund, Singapore wealth fund Temasek, and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which were in for around $400 million. Bankman-Fried will also have his 53% stake in FTX, valued at around $6.2, billion wiped out.

The host of the Silicon Valley-focused podcast "Dead Cat," Eric Newcomer, called the fall of FTX a "dot-com bust level event."

In a letter to investors, Bankman-Fried wrote, "I’m sorry I didn’t do better, and am going to do what I can to protect customer assets, and your investment."

According to Bloomberg's wealth index, Binance's acquisition of FTX leaves FTX and Bankman-Fried's quantitative crypto trading company Alameda each with a value of $1.

The acquisition does not involve Bankman-Fried's exchange FTX.US, last valued at $8 billion.

Zhao shared an alleged internal memo to Twitter, which suggested that "we did not master plan this or anything related to it. It was less than 24 hrs ago that SBF called me. And before that, I had very little knowledge of the internal state of things at FTX."

Zhao also implored his staff not to comment on the deal.

Yaël Ossowski, a cryptocurrency watchdog at the Consumer Choice Center, told the Washington Free Beacon that "crypto has a way of humbling people who swagger too heavily."

"The days of Sam Bankman-Fried being a heavyweight Democratic fundraiser and political influencer to the benefit of his own exchange and his connected companies are basically over," Ossowski added."

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