The crypto scene’s ‘one-man central bank’ is fine with looking like the new Warren Buffett

August 2, 2022, 10:26 AM UTC
Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried speaks at the first annual Moonlight Gala, benefiting children with special needs, at Casa Cipriani on June 23, 2022, in New York City.
Craig Barritt—Getty Images for CARE for Special Children

Good morning. David Meyer here in Berlin, filling in for Alan.

A couple pieces from Fortune’s latest issue have just hit, and they make for essential reading.

First up is Jeff John Roberts’s interview with cover star Sam Bankman-Fried, proprietor of the major cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and “a trading wunderkind whose ambition knows no limits.”

“SBF” gives his thoughts on the crypto winter—which he sees as a “healthy weeding out,” though he warns of “a new round of carnage” if macro events head south—and his motivations for being in the crypto scene, which amount to pragmatism rather than ideology.

But the most interesting part of the interview, to me, relates to how Bankman-Fried has become “much like a one-man central bank” for struggling players like BlockFi and Voyager Digital. Would it be overstating matters to say he’s going to emerge from this period looking like the new Warren Buffett?

“I hope it’s not overstating it, though it might be. I want to be in a position where when we work with people, we’re a little more generous than we have particular reason to be,” SBF told Jeff.

Keep watching this guy—and read the interview here.

Next up is Bernhard Warner’s masterful attempt to sort out what on earth is going on with the economy’s mixed signals, and why “most families in America feel poorer, even if their finances remain solvent.”

Take hope, Bernhard counsels, because “stellar job-creation figures” may indicate a soft landing is coming after all, despite the skepticism of most CEOs. He spoke to a bunch of experts, and “even some economists in the worst-case camp sketched a picture that wasn’t too grim—a shallow slump rather than a steep plunge.”

Usefully, he also suggests some ways in which business leaders and consumers can “increase their own odds of a soft landing.” For those details, well, read the article.

More news below.

David Meyer


Pelosi and Taiwan

Taiwan and China have both stepped up their military rhetoric around U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s likely visit to the island, which could take place very soon indeed. Chinese military planes flew close to the unofficial border in the Taiwan Strait; Taipei scrambled its own jets in response. Several U.S. warships are loitering somewhere to the east of Taiwan. The markets are understandably nervous. (Bonus read: UN chief António Guterres warns “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.”) Fortune

Instagram U.K.

Instagram boss Adam Mosseri is moving to London, where he will staff up Meta’s new King’s Cross offices, reportedly with a focus on the product team. Instagram’s product team has traditionally all been U.S.-based. Probably doesn’t hurt that British engineers earn one-third of what their San Francisco counterparts do. (Speaking of Meta, Sheryl Sandberg is now officially no longer its COO.) Financial Times

German nuclear

Even some within Germany’s Green Party—No. 2 in the ruling coalition—now think the country may have to delay the planned shutdown of its last nuclear reactors at the end of this year. It really all depends on how bad the German natural-gas crisis gets this winter; nuclear energy can’t substitute for gas in most cases, but a full-on energy crunch may require extending the nukes through spring (which is about as far as the plants’ existing fuel supplies would take them). Conservatives want fresh fuel purchases to take the phaseout to 2024, but the Greens are unanimously against that idea. Politico


‘Anything Facebook creates now will misfire’: Ethereum creator dumps cold water on Zuckerberg’s Web3 dreams, by Christiaan Hetzner

We can have effective crypto regulation without stifling innovation. Here’s how, by Matt Van Buskirk

Want to escape poverty? Try having rich friends growing up, new study says, by Colin Lodewick

U.S. airstrike killed al-Qaida leader al-Zawahri, by the Associated Press

Monkeypox is an STI and 6 other myths debunked by an epidemiologist, by Jennifer Fields

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

This is the web version of CEO Daily, a newsletter of must-read insights from Fortune CEO Alan Murray. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

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