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FTX generated more than $1 billion in revenue last year

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Sam Bankman-Fried

FTX rode the crypto craze to a billion dollars in revenue last year while expanding its global footprint through a flurry of acquisitions, according to internal documents seen by CNBC.

The audited financials give a rare glimpse into the privately held company’s finances. FTX was profitable, quickly expanding across the globe and saw breakneck growth.

The crypto exchange’s revenue soared more than 1,000% from $89 million to $1.02 billion in 2021. Its profitability, like many start-ups, depends on how you measure it. Operating income was $272 million, up from $14 million a year earlier. FTX saw net income of $388 million last year, up from just $17 million a year earlier.

FTX declined to comment on the leaked financial documents.

Read Also: Is the 30 Year Old Billionaire CEO of FTX the Next Warren Buffett?

The company brought in $270 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2022, and was on track to do roughly $1.1 billion in revenue in 2022, according to an investor deck shared with CNBC. But it’s unclear how FTX held up in the second quarter as crypto prices plunged during the recent so-called “Crypto Winter.”

By way of comparison, publicly traded also experienced a cash boom during crypto’s bull market, with $7.4 billion in revenue and $3.6 billion of net income last year. But in the second quarter of this year, it reported $808.3 million in revenue, a decline of 64% from the year-ago quarter, and a surprise net loss of $1.1 billion, compared with $1.59 billion in net income a year earlier, as retail trading volumes cratered.

FTX was founded three years ago by former Wall Street quant trader Sam Bankman-Fried. The 30-year-old CEO has recently stepped in as the industry’s lender of last resort, looking to backstop companies as liquidity dried up. On top of multiple loans of hundreds of millions of dollars, Bankman-Fried’s companies also looked to acquire distressed assets. In July, FTX signed a deal that gives it the option to buy lender BlockFi and was in discussions to acquire South Korean Bithumb. FTX also offered to buy Voyager in August but was turned down for what the company claimed was a “low ball bid.”

FTX had roughly $2.5 billion in cash at the end of last year and 27% profit margins, according to the documents. Margins were closer to 50% if advertising and “related party” expenses are stripped out. It last raised money in January, collecting $400 million from investors like SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Tiger Global, at a $32 billion valuation.

Global footprint

FTX was founded at a time when Coinbase and Binance had solidified themselves as the world’s largest trading venues. still operates largely within the U.S. Binance, the largest exchange by trading volume got its start in China, later moved its headquarters to the Cayman Islands and is now making a push for the U.S. market with an American subsidiary.

FTX has been quietly building its own fleet of global subsidiaries to compete.

FTX Trading Ltd. is headquartered in Antigua, with FTX Derivatives Markets based in the Bahamas, where Bankman-Fried lives. FTX Trading recently bought Digital Assets DA AG, out of Switzerland, as well as IFS Group and Hive out of Australia – bringing the total to 15 smaller companies across the world. Its portfolio companies span Cyprus, Germany, Gibraltar, Singapore, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, among other countries, according to the documents. Crypto companies often acquire start-ups to quickly get the proper regulatory licenses to set up shop in a new country.

Bankman-Fried also founded trading firm Alameda Research, which accounts for about 6% of FTX’s exchange volumes, according to the documents.

FTX’s U.S. business is technically owned by a parent company, West Realm Shires Inc. As of 2021, FTX U.S. made up less than 5% of FTX’s total revenue. Still, the company is making a push to expand in the U.S. with a series of high-profile ads and sponsorships on their website.

Read Also: FTX wins full approval to operate crypto exchange in Dubai

FTX spent roughly 15% of revenue on advertising and marketing in 2021, according to the documents. That may account for its 2022 Super Bowl ad with actor Larry David and high-profile celebrity endorsements by Tom Brady and Giselle Bündchen, who are also equity investors in the company. FTX also bought the naming rights to Miami’s NBA arena, formerly the American Airlines Arena. FTX planned to spend an estimated $900 million in advertising in the coming years, according to the documents.

The crypto exchange is also expanding into stock trading. It launched equities trading weeks after Bankman-Fried took a 7.6% passive stake in , fueling speculation that FTX is looking to buy the trading app in a landgrab for U.S. retail accounts. Robinhood and Bankman-Fried have denied that a deal is in the works.

FTX has certainly ramped up its retail expansion efforts. But the documents show that it’s still mainly a venue for more sophisticated traders using derivatives – either futures, or options. About two-thirds of revenue came from futures trading fees, while roughly 16% came from so-called spot trading. Futures and derivatives trades tend to be more lucrative for exchanges.

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Lil Poppa Releases “Money Call” | Video Out Now!

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Lil Poppa
Jacksonville, FL rapper and CMG signee, Lil Poppa has released a brand new song and video for track “Money Call” — an explosive track coming just under three minutes that spotlights Poppa’s pension for hard hitting rhymes and melodic hooks. The track will launch f #WildchildWednesdays that will be announced later today. “Money Call” came with an equally emotive music video, watch above or via link here:  http://LilPoppa.lnk.to/MoneyCallVid
In April this year, Poppa announced his signing to one of music’s legendary labels in the making CMG Records and dropped the third instalment of his Under Investigation series. The new single follows this album and hints at all new project in the making. Poppa joins an illustrious roster of artists, including Moneybagg Yo, GloRilla, 42 Dugg, EST Gee, Mozzy, Blac Youngsta and more. Gotti’s CMG label will work with Interscope Records to continue developing Lil Poppa and provide a foundation to further elevate his promising, young career.
 
Listen to “Money Call” by Lil Poppa Across DSPs:
With his powerful wordplay and soulful storytelling, Lil Poppa turns each of his songs into an up-close account of life in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL. At just 18-years-old, he drew major attention for tracks like “Purple Hearts”—an independent release that organically amassed millions of views on Youtube in 2018, all on the strength of Poppa’s straight-from-the-heart delivery and hard-hitting lyrics.
At age 12, he built a makeshift studio in his closet and started self-recording with a laptop and Radio Shack microphone. Poppa began rapping each week at church, joining a group of friends and sharing rhymes with a spiritual bent. With a string of mixtapes under his belt, Poppa made his breakthrough with a pair of singles and he released a string of consistent projects like Almost Normal, Under Investigation II and Blessed, I Guess — all of which racked up praise from the likes of Pitchfork, Hypebeast, XXL, Complex, Hot New Hip Hop and more. Poppa went on to be named SiriusXM’s Hip-Hop Nation’s “First Alert” artist off the back of the project. His brand of soulful rap has a
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Lil Wayne is selling his Miami mansion for $29.5 Million

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Lil Wayne is on the move. (more…)

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Elton John And Britney Spears Release Video For Chart-Topping Smash “Hold Me Closer”

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Elton John And Britney Spears Release Video For Chart-Topping Smash "Hold Me Closer"

Today, Elton John and Britney Spears are thrilled to release the video for one of the biggest songs of 2022 and chart-topping smash hit “Hold Me Closer.” (more…)

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Lil Wayne Celebrates His 40th Birthday With A Star-Studded Party

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Lil Wayne kicked off his 40th birthday celebration with a party fit for rap royalty. Weezy was joined by family and friends during a dinner at The Nice Guy in West Hollywood on Sunday night. (more…)

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South African pioneer Riky Rick posthumously receives inaugural Global Visionary Award at The BET HipHop Awards 2022]

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Global Visionary Award RIKY RICK 1987 %E2%80%93 2022 1X1

Rikhado “Riky Rick” Makhado will be honoured posthumously with the prestigious title his fans have known him to hold ever since he broke into the industry: The Global Visionary Award, during the International Broadcast of the 2022 BET Hip-Hop Awards. The esteemed award recognises and honours champions of culture, including artists, DJs, and music industry professionals who have made ground-breaking efforts to expand the culture of hip-hop on the World Stage. Riky Rick is the inaugural recipient of this award.   

Hosted by Grammy®-nominated recording artist, actor, entrepreneur, and media personality Fat Joe the “BET HIP HOP AWARDS” 2022, will tape from the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, GA, on Friday, September 30, and will premiere Internationally on BET Africa, DStv channel 129 on Wednesday, 05 October 2022 at 02:00 am WAT/ 03:00 am CAT and repeat at 18:30WAT/19:30 CAT.  

“The BET Global Visionary Award comes as a heart-warming opportunity to celebrate Rikhado’s life and his deep love for humanity”, said Louisa Zondo, Riky Rick’s mother. “I see the award as a recognition of the positive impact of the music Rikhado shared with us. The award also highlights how Rikhado used arts and culture as an important and effective pathway for people to truly connect with, care for and be seen by each other.” 

The South African Entrepreneur, Rapper, and Fashion Icon, Riky Rick, has been a force in the music industry since the release of “Nafukwa”, which won an MTV Africa Award for Video of the Year. Riky Rick’s dynamic and prominent voice in SA hip-hop has earned him recognition as a highly regarded creative who has left an indelible mark on the global music scene. He pioneered the independent music wave in SA and beyond, separating from his label and releasing music directly to fans online. His independent ventures achieved much success and inspired other artists to explore a similar path. He is the founder and owner of Cotton Club Records and of Cotton Fest, a platform that celebrates the world of music and fashion.  

“As Riky’s family, we are moved and honoured to receive the BET Global Visionary Award on behalf of our beloved, Riky Rick,” said Bianca Naidoo Makhado, Riky Rick’s wife. “This award honours his work and his name. I am so proud that my husband’s work is still making a positive impact within the entertainment space and that his legacy continues to inspire young creatives. This award reminds us of his love for his fans and for the culture.”  

“Riky Rick means so much to so many of us, not just South African hip-hop fans but globally beyond the mic. His impact in changing the South African hip-hop game to be more inclusive, particularly in encouraging young creatives to take control of their destiny and dare to dream bigger, endures as one of his most influential and lasting legacies. His legacy continues to inspire and together with Bianca, we hope to honour Riky by championing a new generation of black creatives while celebrating his life and what he stood for,” said Monde Twala, Senior Vice president and General Manager, Paramount Africa and Peer Lead, BET International.  

Riky Rick’s untimely passing, due to mental health struggles, is a great loss for many. This Award aims to honour his life, work, and his lasting impact while raising awareness around mental health issues and shedding light on available coping resources. Riky Rick was an innovator in many spheres of culture and the world benefited greatly from his intuitive vision.        

For more information about “BET Hip Hop Awards” including the latest news and updates, visit bet.com/hiphopawards.  

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Global publisher to release first graphic novels from South Africa’s award-winning Triggerfish Animation Studios

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Cover KARIBA

North American independent book publisher Catalyst Press will publish two graphic novels from Cape Town’s world-renowned animation studio next year, its first venture into the literary sphere. (more…)

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