Well, well, if that’s not another day of talking about counterfeit money. Senior reporter Phil Rosen here – I don’t mean to imply that all the crypto is fake, but the funds distributed by the now defunct FTX crypto exchange turned out to be either air or steeped in fraud.
Seeking to expand his influence far and wide, Sam Bankman-Fried has shelled out huge sums of money that have gone into the coffers of politicians, the media, and other digital asset companies.
1. Here’s what Bankman-Fried seemed to be aiming for: Hide money with all the right people, while pushing for FTX-friendly policy.
As CoinDesk reported this week, 37% of Congress took money of Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer were among the 196 senators and representatives who received funds.
Other legislators included some who were just sworn into the ranks of Congress this month, indicating that Bankman-Fried may be looking to dominate new members.
Since learning the money came from a potentially fraudulent source, many of these politicians decided to get rid of what they received. Of the 53 campaigns that spoke out on the issue, 64% said they would. forward donated funds to non-profit causesaccording to CoinDesk.
Keep in mind that FTX’s new bosses, led by John Ray III, had this to say in December:
“Making a payment or donation to a third party (including a charity) of the amount of any payment received from an FTX Contributor does not preclude FTX Debtors from seeking recovery.”
It remains to be seen whether political contributions will be subject to clawbacks. New leaders say if the money was stolen, then the funds cannot be freely distributed as donations.
On the media side, Bankman-Fried reportedly paid a $10 million investment in splashy news startup Semafor, and also sent a $5 million grant to investigative nonprofit ProPublica. Both outlets said they planned to return the money.
Not only that, but new bosses said on Wednesday that the exchange had lost $415 million in hackswhich represents less than 10% of the assets that FTX is still trying to locate.
The whole saga has weighed on general market sentiment and token prices.
William Quigley, co-founder of stablecoin Tetherone of the most traded tokens in the world, expects crypto markets this year to be more stable than in 2022, but fraud and scams in recent months mean enthusiasm will be more subdued .
“We pretty much wiped out all the gains made in 2021,” Quigley told me. “I was surprised by the layers of leverage that crept into every corner of crypto, starting with exchanges that had no reason to leverage.”
Certainly, the rest of the digital asset industry remains just as busy as FTX:
How likely are you to invest in crypto this year?
A) No way
B) I can invest according to the evolution of the market
C) I am definitely investing in crypto this year
In other news:
2. US stock futures fall early Thursday as fears of a global recession mount. Major benchmarks fell on Wednesday after December retail data showed sales fell the most in a year. Here are the latest market moves.
3. On the role: Netflix, Intuit Inc. and Northern Trust, all reports.
4. Goldman Sachs has named 27 stocks that have the highest expected returns on equity for the next 12 months. The gains could go up to 49%, according to the firm’s strategists. Here are their top picks as the economy enters a recessionary environment.
5. The tech sector sees “the clock strike midnight” as Microsoft announces layoffs. Top analyst Dan Ives said on Wednesday that the era of hyper-growth is coming to an end and the time to “rip the bandage” is here. preserve margins and reduce costs when the economy slows.
6. Larry Summers is warming to the idea that the Federal Reserve can stick to a soft landing this year. The former Treasury secretary told Bloomberg that the economy could finally avoid a recession, which is the opposite of what he has said previously. Get all the details.
7. Charles Schwab has warned that a major shark attack is coming for stocks. Markets are about to be turned upside down, and investors who don’t pay close attention are likely to get bitten, according to the firm’s Jeffrey Kleintop. According to him, it is time to recognize that a new market cycle has begun.
8. Behavioral investing expert Phil Toews still sees upside for stocks and bonds. But there is still potential for a bigger, longer downturn to come. He explained why he was cautious today and what investors should do next.
9. This investor built a real estate portfolio of 742 units after starting with $5,000. He just warned that an upcoming real estate correction will be the next buying opportunity. Here is the financing method he uses to get 2% interest rates.
10. Goldman Sachs stock took a beating this week. After a brutal fourth quarter, chief executive David Solomon admitted the Wall Street giant had expanded too quickly into retail banking. “On mainstream platforms, we’ve done some things well,” he said. “We did not execute some others.”