Bitcoin futures ETF is a ‘huge step forward’

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told CNBC on Thursday that the decision to allow a bitcoin futures ETF in the U.S. is a “huge step forward,” as the crypto trading platform hopes to expand its footprint in America.

The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, which trades under the ticker ‘BITO,’ started trading on the NYSE Tuesday and rose more than 4% in its debut.

In an interview on “The Exchange,” Bankman-Fried said the U.S. could soon see more structured products from the cryptocurrency industry popping up that draw on regulated platforms, as well as the introduction of new legal framework for cryptocurrencies.

“I would not be surprised to see more regulation of the markets and exchanges, especially on the anti-market manipulation,” Bankman-Fried said.


FTX also hopes to expand its trading operations to the U.S., where its cryptocurrency exchange is not available. The company has offices in Chicago, Miami and other U.S. cities, but Bankman-Fried said the biggest obstacles in operating its cryptocurrency exchange platform in the country are licensing and regulations.

“We’re excited to work with the [Commodity Futures Trading Commission], excited to work with the SEC and with other regulators to figure out how we can have fully regulated and licensed market activity in the United States,” Bankman-Fried said.

FTX is one of the most highly-valued crypto firms in the world, and Forbes estimates Bankman-Fried is the richest person in crypto, with a net worth of $22.5 billion.

At just two years old, FTX is already valued at $25 billion after its most recent round of funding. It’s received investments from powerhouse firms such as Tiger Global and Softbank and even pension funds. The crypto exchange firm moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to the Bahamas in September, a move Bankman-Fried said was in the works for a while due to the island nation’s attractive crypto framework and lack of Covid lockdowns.

On Thursday, the company said it raised $420 million from 69 investors in its latest round of funding, with the numbers “420” and “69” serving as reminders that meme culture is still valued by crypto connoisseurs.

“The biggest use of the investment proceeds is more likely to be acquisitions and investments,” Bankman-Fried said. FTX acquired Blockfolio a year ago and Ledger X a few months ago. “There are a number more than we’re looking at,” he added.

NFL star Tom Brady and model Giselle Bundchen, who is Brady’s wife, play prominent roles in FTX advertisements.

“I think we might do a bit more of that,” Banksman-Fried said of pursuing more celebrity advertisement, though he noted the company has other priorities right now.

“Because our targets here are to form partnerships that we are really excited by, and that we hope our users will be really excited by too, it’s really dependent on who we can work something out with,” Bankman-Fried said. “I’m really optimistic that we may be able to grow our U.S. footprint by quite a large amount over the next few years.”