FTX chief takes stake in online brokerage Robinhood

Sam Bankman-Fried, the billionaire founding father of cryptocurrency change FTX, has amassed a 7.6 per cent stake in on-line retail brokerage Robinhood, calling it an “attractive investment”.

Bankman-Fried stated in a securities submitting he has no “intention of taking any action toward changing or influencing the control of [Robinhood]” and acquired the stake purely as an funding. Nevertheless, he left open the opportunity of calling for the corporate to contemplate “strategic alternatives or operational or management initiatives”.

Shares in Robinhood rose 25 per cent in after-hours buying and selling following the announcement.

Bankman-Fried bought $648mn in Robinhood shares at a median value of $11.52. The purchases disclosed by Bankman-Fried started in mid-March and continued by way of Wednesday, when he bought $27.5mn in shares, in line with a regulatory submitting.

Robinhood went public in July in a hotly anticipated debut. However shares within the brokerage have stuttered as retail enthusiasm for inventory buying and selling has faltered in current months. Shares within the dealer had fallen greater than 70 per cent since then, forward of Thursday’s disclosure.

The funding factors to the huge wealth Bankman-Fried, a former Jane Avenue dealer, has collected throughout the newest run-up in cryptocurrencies. Forbes estimates the 30-year outdated FTX founder’s web value is $21bn, even after this week’s sell-off in digital property. Bankman-Fried bought the Robinhood shares by way of Emergent Constancy Applied sciences, an funding car he controls.

Bankman-Fried is a vocal proponent of efficient altruism, a philosophical motion centred on doing as a lot good as doable with an individual’s assets.

FTX, which buyers have valued at $32bn, has additionally waded into Robinhood’s core enterprise. The corporate’s US arm opened a wait-list for a brand new inventory buying and selling platform in February, and one in every of its prime executives just lately previewed the operate on Twitter.

Robinhood has pushed closely into cryptocurrencies as income from fairness buying and selling has tumbled, launching crypto wallets on its platform and including new currencies, bringing it extra consistent with opponents akin to Coinbase. It plans to increase internationally as a crypto brokerage, and bought the UK crypto firm Ziglu in April.

Retail buying and selling has fallen to pre-coronavirus pandemic ranges in current weeks, as a market sell-off and rising inflation have soured investor enthusiasm for inventory buying and selling. Robinhood missed its first-quarter income targets after reporting a 73 per cent decline in inventory buying and selling from the earlier 12 months. Its cryptocurrency buying and selling income dropped 39 per cent.

Bankman-Fried has beforehand spoken concerning the power of the dealer’s model: “Robinhood barely even needs to advertise; their name conveys their brand and message without the need for any additional colour,” he wrote on Twitter.

He has additionally been crucial of the dealer, notably Robinhood’s choice to halt buying and selling in sure equities on the top of the meme-stock buying and selling frenzy. The corporate was later known as earlier than the Home monetary providers committee to clarify the incident.

“I don’t think Robinhood did something evil,” Bankman-Fried tweeted. “I think they did something incompetent: they weren’t prepared for heavy usage.”

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