Hong Kong crypto exchange FTX ropes in Gisele, Tom Brady to burnish green credentials as China cracks down on energy-hungry sector
- The cryptocurrency mining sector’s reliance on cheap power and related impact on the environment clashes with China’s vow to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060
- FTX, Gisele and husband Tom Brady have ‘committed to providing an annual multimillion contribution to charity’
FTX, a cryptocurrency unicorn that offers derivative trading services with offices in Hong Kong and the United States, has brought Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen on board as a shareholder and green advocate with the hope of countering some of the bad reputation associated with bitcoin mining’s carbon footprint.
The exchange, which was launched in May 2019, has quickly become the world’s fifth-largest exchange, data from research firm CoinMarketCap shows. Bundchen, a former Victoria’s Secret model, and US Super Bowl star player Tom Brady, her husband, have become minority shareholders in FTX and will drive funding into projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions, said 29-year-old co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
“We are the newest exchange with a smaller user base than other exchanges. We think it has come to a point where there is value in increasing our recognition in the region,” he said, adding that the company has also been putting more thought into its carbon neutral commitment.
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In its 2021 list of cryptocurrency billionaires released in April, Forbes ranked Bankman-Fried as the richest among a list of 12, estimating his net worth at US$8.7 billion.
FTX, Gisele and Brady have “committed to providing an annual multimillion contribution to charity throughout the duration of the partnership”, the company said in a press release. Bankman-Fried declined to comment on the couple’s respective stakes, and only indicated that it would be a percentage that amounted to single digits.
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The new shareholders have also joined at a time when FTX is nearing the completion of its latest funding round, which will value the company at US$20 billion, according to some media reports. Bankman-Fried declined to comment on the valuation.
Venture capital funds will be among more than a dozen new investors that are expected to join this round of funding, and the start-up is aiming to finalise the funding round by July, according to people familiar with the situation. Data from provider Crunchbase shows that FTX has raised a total of US$16 million from four previous funding rounds.