Cryptocurrency exchange FTX has raised money at an $18 billion valuation, a deal that shows investors’ enthusiasm for digital currencies even after a crash that erased half of bitcoin’s value over the past three months.
FTX raised $900 million in a new funding round that closed Tuesday. Participants in the round included Japanese technology investor SoftBank Group Corp. , Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital and Third Point, the hedge fund led by billionaire Daniel Loeb, FTX said.
The transaction vaulted FTX into the ranks of the world’s highest-valued crypto companies. It also provided a measure of mainstream acceptance for FTX, which bars Americans from trading on its main marketplace to avoid running afoul of U.S. regulators. FTX’s main office is in Hong Kong and its parent company, FTX Trading Ltd., is domiciled in Antigua and Barbuda.
Other prominent investors in the funding round included hedge-fund billionaires Israel Englander and Alan Howard; the family of another hedge-fund billionaire, Paul Tudor Jones; and tech-oriented private-equity firm Thoma Bravo.
The founder and chief executive of FTX is Sam Bankman-Fried, a California native who worked for quantitative-trading giant Jane Street Capital LLC before getting into FTX has grown rapidly since starting operations in 2019, making the 29-year-old Mr. Bankman-Fried a billionaire.