- FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is no stranger to politics.
- A PAC backed by FTX could considerably increase the crypto industry's political sway.
- FTX denies it's launching a PAC.
Cryptocurrency giant FTX is planning to advocate for crypto interests in Washington D.C. with the launch of a Political Action Committee or PAC, according to two sources familiar with the matter. One of the people familiar with the project, who was not authorized to discuss it publicly, said FTX is in the process of hiring a director for the PAC. While there are a handful of other crypto PACs in Washington, including HODL Pac, the person said FTX's initiative would dwarf them in scope.
After this story was published, a spokesperson for the company denied the report, saying, "FTX has no plans to establish a PAC or super PAC, nor are we looking to hire any director for one." Neither FTX nor its founder Sam Bankman-Fried had initially replied to a request for comment pre-publication.
A PAC is a corporate vehicle that can donate up to $5,000 to any political candidate and, in the case of so-called Super PACs, can spend unlimited money advocating on issues like taxes, the environment—or crypto policy.
Bankman-Fried is reported to be worth at least $10 billion, so the influence of any PAC he launches would likely be significant.
A senior employee at another large cryptocurrency company said he had not heard of the FTX plans but added that he would not be surprised by such an initiative, saying FTX has been aggressively trying to poach other crypto firms' lawyers and lobbyists in Washington.
If FTX does launch a PAC, it would not be Bankman-Fried's first foray into politics. The 28-year-old was one of President Biden's biggest donors and, in a March interview with Vox, described how his worldview is shaped by data and math, including using money for optimal political outcomes.
After maintaining a low profile during FTX's rise, Bankman-Fried has recently put himself and his company in the media spotlight. This includes a series of sponsorship deals that have put FTX logos on the Miami Heat basketball arena and on every umpire in Major League Baseball.
If Bankman-Fried puts FTX's considerable resources behind a PAC, it could increase the political leverage of the crypto industry, which is still regarded with mistrust by many politicians and policy makers.
An FTX PAC would be able to spend unlimited money highlighting the positions of various elected officials, and could spend heavily on donations and on TV commercials and other media.
UPDATE: This story was updated at 8:30pm ET to add denial from FTX.