The dramatic fall of FTX is taking with it more than just the paper wealth of one of crypto’s most colorful players. Given the amount of invested capital that may be incinerated in the crypto exchange’s anticipated sale to rival Binance, it’s hard not to wonder where venture goes next in web3.
FTX is no longer set to generate massive investor return when it goes public; instead, backers of the exchange are concerned that their investment could go to zero in the Binance transaction. The potential sale of FTX to the larger exchange may save the brand — there’s a lot we still don’t know about its health sans rescue — but it is not clear if any of the capital pools that helped power its rise will get their money back.
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The scale of the potential losses is staggering. FTX’s mid-2021 funding round was something that it described at the time as the “largest raise in crypto exchange history,” for example. The $900 million round valued the company at around $18 billion. The boast about the round now sounds more like a threat, at least from a venture returns perspective.
“Over 60 investors participated in the $900M Series B,” FTX wrote at the time, noting that “Paradigm, Sequoia Capital, Thoma Bravo, SoftBank, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Third Point, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Altimeter, BOND, NEA, Coinbase Ventures, Willoughby Capital, 40North, Senator Investment Group, Sino Global Capital, Multicoin, the Paul Tudor Jones family, Izzy Englander, Alan Howard, VanEck, Hudson River Trading, and Circle” put capital into the round.
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