Sam Bankman-Fried, the founding father of cryptocurrency alternate FTX, who faces eight counts of fraud, conspiracy, cash laundering and unlawful marketing campaign contributions, invested in no less than two Israeli startups, StarkWare and Solidus Labs, via his corporations FTX Ventures and Alameda Analysis.
StarkWare and Solidus obtained funding that, in keeping with U.S. investigators, was attained by Bankman-Fried and his colleagues via intensive fraud and the stealing of buyer funds. These two Israeli-founded corporations are a part of a listing of round 500 corporations through which Bankman-Fried, who was extradited from the Bahamas to the U.S. final week, had holdings, reaching a complete valuation of round $5.4 billion.
In line with U.S. authorities, FTX stole a complete of $10 billion of buyer funds, with a part of that fortune being misplaced by Alameda via dangerous trades, and half getting used to buy luxurious actual property for private use, political and social donations, and investments in crypto, buying and selling, and media organizations.
The portfolio checklist of 500 corporations, first revealed by the Monetary Occasions, was held via 10 totally different corporations and was utilized by FTX as collateral in its final ditch try to lift funding and keep away from chapter in November. The largest holdings embody stakes in crypto mining firm Genesis Digital, VC large Sequoia, Anthony Scaramucci’s funding agency SkyBridge, and SpaceX.
In line with the checklist, corporations managed by SBF invested no less than $14 million in StarkWare over three funding rounds, together with its previous two rounds. StarkWare, which develops scalability and privateness options for blockchain expertise, raised $100 million at a valuation of $8 billion this previous Could. The Netanya-based firm raised $50 million at a $2 billion valuation final November.
StarkWare was based in 2018 by Uri Kolodny (CEO), Eli Ben-Sasson (President), Michael Riabzev (Chief Architect), and Alessandro Chiesa (Chief Scientist). The corporate goals to make use of zero-knowledge proof to unravel the inherent issues of blockchains. The corporate employs over 80 individuals, most of them out of its Netanya workplace.
SBF additionally bought Starknet tokens, that are nonetheless not out there for buying and selling, at a complete of no less than $33,000. Aside from Alameda, StarkWare’s buyers additionally embody Greenoaks Capital, Coatue, Sequoia, Founders Fund, Paradigm, and Three Arrows, which has additionally since gone bankrupt.
The funding in Solidus Labs was smaller and is believed to be round $500,000, made in the course of the firm’s $20 million Sequence A in Could 2021. The corporate additionally raised a $45 million Sequence B this previous Could, led by Liberty Metropolis Ventures, and together with Evolution Fairness Companions, Declaration Companions, Hanaco Ventures, and Avon Ventures.
Solidus was based in 2017 by Asaf Meir, Chen Arad, and Praveen Kumar. It employs round 100 individuals, principally in Israel, and offers a crypto-native threat monitoring suite that serves crypto and DeFi platforms, monetary establishments, and regulators. FTX was one of many firm’s shoppers.
FTX’s new administration has already introduced that it expects to obtain again any political contributions made by SBF, however the doubtless end result for the cash invested in such corporations as StarkWare and Solidus is that the holdings will both be offered on or purchased again by the businesses.
StarkWare declined to touch upon the matter. Solidus said that the providers offered by the corporate aren’t related to FTX’s threat administration and supreme collapse, and stated: “FTX invested lower than 1% of the funding obtained by Solidus to this point, alongside many buyers, together with former regulators, banks, monetary establishments and enterprise capital funds. The corporate has all the time known as for elevated regulation in crypto.”