BlackRock And Google Considered Investing in FTX

BlackRock And Google Considered Investing in FTX

On Thursday, new evidence was submitted in the ongoing criminal trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of the once-popular FTX crypto exchange.

The evidence showed that last November when the crypto exchange had been circling the drain, it had engaged Google and BlackRock as potential investors.

The evidence

A spreadsheet was presented by federal prosecutors that had been maintained by the now-collapsed exchange related to its fundraisers, as testified by Can Sun, its former general counsel.

The document provides information about the numerous fundraising rounds, which includes one that the former lawyer said had never ‘closed’.

His testimony revealed that the C1 funding round conducted by the crypto exchange had started in the late summer and fall of the previous year.

The spreadsheet mentioned that there were 15 potential investors, including Apple, BlackRock, and Google, that had to be engaged immediately.

Sun stated that they had asked Apollo to invest in the crypto exchange to resolve the liquidity problems it had been experiencing due to customer withdrawals.

He also said that he had been part of the discussions that had taken place. The spreadsheet also shows that there had been a ‘medium’ chance of Google and BlackRock participating in the investment round.

The spreadsheet

The spreadsheet also mentioned that the two companies had been doing their due diligence before the collapse of the crypto exchange on November 11th.

Seven conspiracy and fraud charges have been filed against Bankman-Fried due to his conduct at FTX. He is accused of defrauding customers and misleading investors.

Billions in customer funds were taken from the exchange and used for venture investments, political donations, and purchasing real estate.

The spreadsheet indicated that there had been an equal chance of NEA, the venture capital firm, Google, BlackRock, and Qatar Investment Authority participating in the funding round.

As for ‘high’ probability investors, Standard Crypto and Temasek were listed in the spreadsheet. Last year, Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, revealed they had invested $24 million in FTX before its downfall.

There had not been any direct investment in FTX or any of Sam Bankman-Fried companies by Google, but the company does share a cap table with him.

Other details

An investment worth $400 million was made by Google in Anthropic back in February, an AI startup that had also been backed by Bankman-Fried-owned Alameda Research.

The spreadsheet also disclosed that there were six companies that had chosen to not participate in the funding round, which included General Atlantic and a16z.

Vanderbilt University was listed under Harvard and Columbia on the spreadsheet and it had contributed $5 million in the funding round.

Nevertheless, Sun stated that since the funding round had not closed, it meant that the companies had not actually put their money into FTX.

Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, who has pled guilty to several charges also testified that Bankman-Fried would sell FTX equity for raising capital in October 2022.

Even though it is not mentioned on the spreadsheet, she said that Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Arabia Crown Prince, had considered purchasing equity in FTX.