Former CEO of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried lost his entire $16 billion fortune just days after his company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, but he’s not the only high-profile investor who could lose money amid FTX’s decline.
As interest in crypto and crypto exchanges has grown in recent years, higher-profile individuals such as professional athletes and other entertainment personalities have joined financial institutions to invest in FTX.
One of those athletes is Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
Just months after winning his seventh Super Bowl in 2021, Brady and his then-wife Gisele Bundchen were given capital share in FTX, in addition to getting some crypto. Brady served as a company ambassador, and Bündchen was an advisor on FTX’s environmental and social initiatives. The two also appeared in several television commercials for FTX.
“This is an incredibly exciting time in the crypto world, and Sam and the revolutionary team at FTX continue to open my eyes to the endless possibilities,” Brady said in 2021. “This particular opportunity showed us how important it is to educate people about the power of crypto as while giving back to our communities and planet. We have the chance to create something really special here and I can’t wait to see what we can do together.”
It’s unclear how much equity Brady and Bündchen received in 2021, but FTX raised $32 billion in capital a few months after the deal was announced.
A similar story can be told for Steph Curry of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, who became a global ambassador for FTX and also received an equity stake in the company in 2021.
It is not clear what will happen to the money invested by investors in FTX, but their capital can be destroyed from the bankruptcy petition.
Representatives for Curry, Brady, Bündchen and FTX did not respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment for this story.
Furthermore, Major League Baseball has a marketing deal with FTX where the referees where the FTX logo on their jerseys during games, and NBA Miami Heat renamed their home stadium to “FTX Arena” in 2021. Unlike the announcements about the athletes listed above, the press releases for MLB and the Heat did not include any mention of ownership in FTX.
FTX paused withdrawals earlier this week amid a multi-billion dollar liquidity crisis. At one point, a competing crypto exchange Binance was interested in acquiring FTXbut rejected the move and called FTX’s financial problems “beyond our control or ability to help.”
“There are celebrity CEOs in this space as well as famous crypto entrepreneurs,” SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said on CNBC this week after news broke of FTX’s liquidity problems but before the bankruptcy filing. “The public can fall prey to their promotions, their marketing and the like.”
In a viral Twitter thread on Friday, Bankman-Fried apologized for the recent FTX situation. “I’m really sorry again that we ended up here,” he said. “Hopefully things can find a way to bounce back.”
prices briefly fell to their lowest level in two years this week and price for ether
has decreased by 73.22% in the last year.