Happy hump day, readers. Phil Rosen here. I’m still mulling over a conversation I had yesterday with Shark Tank’s “Mr. Wonderful,” Kevin O’Leary. 

Top of mind, inevitably, was last week’s implosion of FTX, as O’Leary was a spokesperson and investor with the exchange. 

It was our third conversation together, and O’Leary shared candid thoughts on his FTX investments going to zero, as well as details from a phone call he had with Sam Bankman-Fried just before FTX declared bankruptcy.

Let’s dive in.

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1. Kevin O’Leary has spent a lot of time on the phone over the last week. This weekend, he was calling investors and consultants in an attempt to sort through the mess that FTX found itself in, and to try and determine how much of his own money he could get back. 

“I’m writing that all down to zero,” O’Leary told me on a video call Tuesday. “It’s not clear what can be recovered, there’s a lot of allegations flying around. But frankly, I’ve seen this movie before. It’s a difficult situation, there’s no question about it. There’ll be a mountain of litigation.”

O’Leary, a paid spokesperson for FTX, said he had initially gained trust in the company and its 30-year-old CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, a little over two years ago. 

What was meant to be a 30-minute meeting turned into a three-hour lunch. 

And a major selling point was its precocious leader. 

“I’ve never met a more brilliant mind when it comes to crypto and blockchain, that remains the same,” he said. “I mean, he’s a savant. He’s probably one of the most accomplished traders of crypto in the world, and so I was very impressed.”

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Bankman-Fried is now trying to raise money to pay back clients, while an updated FTX bankruptcy filing showed the company could have more than 1 million creditors. 

That turmoil convinced O’Leary to stop keeping money in any crypto exchange that wasn’t regulated. 

Now, he’s turned to a Canadian firm, WonderFi, which is regulated by the Ontario Securities Exchange, for his portfolio, as the US market lacks oversight, he explained. 

In his words: “I can’t find another place on Earth right now safer than Canada.”

In the middle of it all, of course, is Bankman-Fried. The ex-CEO’s sharp mind, O’Leary said, makes it hard to …read more

Source:: Business Insider


A conversation with Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary on FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, and crypto regulation.

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