January 27, 2022: FTX U.S., the American affiliate of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, said it is raising $400 million on Wednesday in its first external fundraising round.
The investment gives FTX U.S. a valuation of $8 billion, which places it among the world’s valuable private crypto firms. Investors in the round included Temasek, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, and SoftBank’s Vision Fund2.
The deal is showing that start-up investors’ confidence in the nascent digital asset industry has not been shaken, even as the prices of bitcoin and other tokens have decreased sharply.
The two most significant virtual currencies of the world, Bitcoin and ether, have roughly halved in value since reaching record highs in November, while smaller tokens such as Solana and Cardano have suffered even steeper declines.
The slump has led few to fear a more dramatic downturn known as “crypto winter” could be on its way. Brett Harrison, president of FTX U.S., said the market turbulence shows the way crypto is a “volatile asset class.”
“Volatility cuts both ways,” he added. “With all of the large upturns that we’ve seen in crypto, we have to expect that there will be downturns as well. And we’re definitely in that period right now.”
Harrison said that the phenomenon is “not specific to crypto” stock markets have also taken a tumble. “I think that we are going to see a bounce-back eventually,” he added.
FTX was set up in Hong Kong in 2019 by 29-year-old crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried. The broader company, recently valued by investors at $25 billion, has moved its headquarters to the Bahamas.
Bankman-Fried established FTX U.S. as the American sister to distinguish it from his central exchange, as officials in Washington started taking a closer look at the digital currency market. Trading was launching on the platform in May 2020.
In a trading update on Wednesday, FTX U.S. said average daily volumes on its platform grew sevenfold in 2021, peaking at over $800 million in November after bitcoin notched a record high of almost $69,000.
The company facilitated over $67 billion in spot crypto trades in the previous year. It has nearly 1.2 million registered users in total.
Such as FTX, the company is pushing into derivatives contracts allowing investors to speculate on the performance of an asset. In October, it is acquiring LedgerX, a crypto futures and options exchange. FTX U.S. hopes the investment will help it gain an edge over rivals like Coinbase and Robinhood.