6 Dec

Learn from the World’s Richest 29 Year Old

Sam Bankman-Fried

The richest person in crypto, Sam Bankman-Fried, has jumped to number 32 on the Forbes 400 list this year. Yet, despite his 26.5-billion-dollar net worth, he makes an unlikely billionaire.

For one thing, he doesn’t seem to be all that interested in money.

Bankman-Fried was motivated to get into crypto with the sole goal of getting as rich as possible to give it all away. With effective altruism at the heart of his philosophy, Bankman-Fried’s huge growth story demonstrates that you don’t need to be egotistical to get rich fast. Read on to learn about 6 key lessons from his life that you can apply to ensure your business journey’s success.

Video: Forbes – Sam Bankman-Fried

1. Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Opportunities

Bankman-Fried was an outsider to crypto and wasn’t involved in the early growth of bitcoin. Despite his lack of early investment, he kept himself up to date with the crypto trend, as well as many other potential wealth prospects. Bankman-Fried spied his opportunity towards the end of 2017 as bitcoin became mainstream when he noticed inefficiencies in the nascent market that meant that he could buy Bitcoin in the U.S. and sell it on in Japan for up to 30% more. Bankman-Fried’s life-changing observation validates the significance of staying informed, thinking critically about what you read, and seizing opportunity when you see it.

2. Learn on the Job

Don’t let your lack of experience prevent you from embarking on a promising venture. “I got involved in crypto without any idea what crypto was,” Bankman-Fried says. “It just seemed like there was a lot of good trading to do.” Bankman-Fried’s development shows that if you are a quick learner and enthusiastic about the end goal you wish to meet, you will be able to gain the necessary skills and knowledge along the way.

3. Make Money, Make Donations…

One of the most important lessons to learn from Bankman-Fried is to do one thing and do it well. Committed to making as much money as possible for when he gives it away, Bankman-Fried criticises Silicon Valley corporate social responsibility programs on the basis that they compromise both their wealth and values by taking a “middle of the road [approach]—try and make some money, but also try and do some good with the job—and that you just do worse than picking one or the other.”

YouTube video credit: Forbes

If what you’re trying to do is donate, you should make as much as you can and give as much as you can...
Sam Bankman-Fried

“And if what you’re trying to do is have a direct impact — not through donations — then you should think about what career allows you to have the most direct impact and go straight to that.” Determine your business’ priority and aim to achieve just that, rather than losing your focus to other ideas along the way.

4. Turn your Challenges into Your Strengths

Bankman-Fried’s first crypto venture was Alameda Research, a quantitative trading firm he founded in 2017. Yet, despite its popularity, Alameda struggled to convert currency fast enough due to the inefficient crypto exchanges it was relying on. Bankman-Fried found that these exchanges worked well for individuals but were inadequate for professional traders who needed to move large sums at rapid speeds. This negatively impacted Alameda, but Bankman-Fried took this market gap and made it his strength. He built FTX, his own exchange. Bankman-Fried demonstrates that if something is preventing your business from meeting its goals, dive into this issue and solve it. If it’s bothering you, it’s likely affecting other businesses too, and, as such, represents an excellent opportunity.

5. Find your Niche

Despite FTX’s current popularity, it was not always a sure success. Luring traders to their new exchange was difficult at first, so Bankman-Fried zoomed in on a small key audience that guaranteed a large output. He focused on sophisticated investors trading derivatives; these traders generally make more trades and for higher amounts. Finding a valuable target market that responds well to your product is a key to your business’s growth.

6. Know your Business’ Limits Before it reaches them

Despite Bankman-Fried’s success in crypto, he is looking beyond its short-term boom and into the future: “We shouldn’t think that crypto is going to be the most fertile ground to work in forever.”

Acknowledging the potential limits of the crypto market, Bankman-Fried is looking to future-proof his business by exploring other avenues. In 2020, FTX expanded to prediction markets, allowing traders to bet on real-world events, such as elections and sport. Bankman-Fried also hopes to develop FTX to facilitate exchanges of cryptocurrency, shares and funds alike.

Sam Bankman-Fried