Crypto mogul skips SALT conference after taking 30% stake in SkyBridge

Last week, Sam Bankman-Fried dropped $45 million to buy a 30% stake in Skybridge Capital, the hedge fund run by Anthony Scaramucci. This week, Bankman-Fried skipped the annual SALT conference in New York, SkyBridge’s biggest event of the year.

Last year, the 30-year-old billionaire was a staple on SALT – pressing the flesh as he promoted his FTX cryptocurrency exchange to countless investors and journalists. But this week, Bankman-Fried was unable to make the trip from his residence in the Bahamas, according to a source.

Instead, Bankman-Fried made a virtual appearance — despite his crypto firm FTX being the main sponsor of this week’s conference. Earlier this year, FTX and SkyBridge launched a crypto-only event, FTX Bahamas.

“It’s weird – if Bankman-Fried was at SALT, the deal would have been conference news,” said one conference attendee. “You would think he would show up to increase his investment and a show of support.”

Meanwhile, insiders noted that this week’s SALT proceedings at the Javits Center in New York were significantly less crypto-focused than last year, although web3 and NFTs remained a topic of panel discussions. Indeed, one person involved in persuading people to sign up told The Post, “I had to assure potential participants that it won’t be as crypto heavy this year as it was last year.”

Scaramucci – who did a 10-day stint as former President Trump’s communications chief – is still bullish on cryptocurrency despite his crypto-focused funds dropping this year as a reservoir of assets digital, according to reports.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s venture capital arm just spent millions to buy a stake in SkyBridge Capital – but he didn’t attend SkyBridge’s flagship SALT conference.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Scaramucci said in a statement to the Post not to “read too much” about Bankman-Fried’s absence — and that FTX was well represented with plenty of staff there. “I think the investment he just made is statement enough,” Scaramucci added.

FTX declined to comment.

Legion Strategies, one of SkyBridge’s crypto-heavy funds, is down around 30% this year. In July, Skybridge had to suspend withdrawals from the $230 million Legion Strategies fund, according to a Bloomberg report. More than 20% of the fund is invested in cryptocurrency-related investments. According to a July report in DealBook, flagship $2 billion fund SkyBridge is facing nearly $900 million in withdrawals.

While this week’s event caught some heavy hitters – including Todd Boehly, the California billionaire who just bought FS Chelsea – it lacked many of the household hedge fund names the conference is generally known for.

Last year’s speaker list included finance titans like Steven Cohen of Point72, Dan Loeb of Third Point, Marc Lasry of Avenue and Cathie Wood of ARK Invest.

Of course, as market volatility continues, many investors may be much more focused on keeping their funds afloat than on NFTs at conferences.

Scaramucci’s SkyBridge launched a crypto-focused conference with FTX in the Bahamas earlier this year.
Sports file via Getty Images

One financier who chose to skip this year joked: “For most investors, now is not the time to brag about your performance.”

Bankman-Fried, 30, is worth around $12.4 billion according to Forbes and has become something of a crypto savior during the massive digital coin downfall. He provided BlockFi, a crypto bank, with $250 million of credit and committed $500 million to bail out crypto brokerage Voyager Digital over the summer as the crypto market crashed.

“It’s weird that Bankman-Fried wasn’t there…but it’s only a $45 million deal,” the conference attendee added.


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