The end of the crypto winter is just around the corner, says billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried

The return of the crypto winter, a term that describes the periodic downturns that hit the cryptocurrency industry, is leaving everyone feeling cold. The most common question on the lips of retailers and fintech giants is “When will it end?”

If FTX CEO and billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried is correct, the depths of winter are likely past and spring is on its way.

“I think we have already seen the worst; there’s a little more to come, but it’s not too bad,” said Bankman-Fried, better known as SBF. Fortune for an exclusive cover story.

“I think some bitcoin miners are going to have some problems, but I think we’re talking about $100 million in total pain, not billions,” he added.

But the 30-year-old added an important caveat to his bullish prediction: The crypto winter is ending, but only if the economy doesn’t withstand more of the larger external shocks that plunged stock prices and cryptocurrencies in the first place.

“If the Nasdaq has another 25% left to go down, and if interest rates actually go up to 7%, and if we’re going to be in a recession for two and a half years, in that world, I think Bitcoin could go down to $15K or $10K. So there may be a new round of carnage coming out of that.”

The recent crypto winter brought what was once a $3 trillion asset class temporarily below $1 trillion in cumulative market cap. The price drop sent Bitcoin, which accounts for 41% of the cryptocurrency market, to lows not seen since the height of the pandemic in December 2020. At $22,900 as of Friday, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency is still trading at down 51% from where the year began.

The metaphorical cold also suddenly froze several once-thriving crypto companies, including Three Arrows Capital, Terraform Labs, and Voyager Digital.

But FTX has weathered the storm, and indeed SBF said the recession has been a “healthy wipeout” for the industry.

“I think people had to rethink how to value assets and had to be a little bit more grounded and realize that unsubstantiated thinking only works in times of euphoria,” he said. Fortune.

Because FTX has fared better than others during the recession, Bankman-Fried has spent big and turned it into a white knight figure or a modern-day robber baron, depending on your perspective.

This year, FTX bought stakes in the IEX Group Inc. stock exchange and the Robinhood stock trading platform. In the crypto space, FTX has provided millions in liquidity to crypto lender BlockFi with the call option and last month offered to buy all of the bankrupt Voyager crypto platform’s digital assets and most of its loans, in a joint proposal with two other led by SBF. companies.

For more on where SBF sees crypto prices going, as well as his views on trading and the future of the industry, be sure to check out the full report. Fortune conversation.

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