For much of this year’s rolling crypto crash, Sam Bankman-Fried and his FTX Exchange — until last week the second largest in the world — looked like the white knight charging in to save the day.
The 30-year-old crypto kingpin offered to prop up peers reeling from the collapse, including bankrupt crypto banks Voyager and Celsius as well as BlockFi, another exchange. But last week, when Bankman-Fried could not raise $8 billion to fill a massive hole in his own balance sheet, critics could be forgiven for wondering whether he was trying to save himself all along — and why investors didn’t notice.
There was certainly plenty of smart money along for FTX’s wild ride — notably Sequoia Capital, SoftBank, and Tiger Global, among the most sophisticated investors in the world. Sequoia said it has written down its entire $210 million investment, and SoftBank is reported to have lost $100 million. Tiger Global lost about $38 million, according to an individual familiar with the situation.
Millennium Management’s Izzy Englander and Brevan Howard’s Alan Howard were also counted among FTX’s gold-plated investors. Even the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan said it ponied up $95 million, though a statement on its web site did not say whether it was writing the investment off.
All told, investors plowed $1.9 billion into FTX since 2019, according to PitchBook.
“We are in the business of taking risk,” Sequoia wrote in a letter to its limited partners, saying it had written down its FTX investments to zero. Sequoia also said it does “extensive research and thorough diligence on every investment we make.”
Read More: Institutional Investor