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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried quietly purchased major Democratic data firm

TJM Institutional Services Managing Director Jim Iuorio discusses what’s next for the cryptocurrency industry with the FTX collapse prompting new calls for regulation.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of the bankrupt cryptocurrency platform FTX, reportedly purchased a major analytics firm dedicated to assisting Democratic campaigns over the summer.

Bankman-Fried bought Deck, a startup firm designed to provide Democratic campaigns with predictive analytics and voter targeting capabilities, with up to $5 million of his own cash, Puck News reported last week. 

The former FTX CEO reportedly gave assurances to Deck founder Max Wood that he could provide a financially stable path forward for the firm and bought out all existing investors.

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FTX founder

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange, speaks during a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., Feb. 9, 2022. (Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The purchase potentially gave Bankman-Fried access to a trove of Democratic National Committee (DNC) information. Deck is available free of charge to Democratic campaigns nationwide thanks to a contract between the platform and the DNC.

"At Deck, we help progressive campaigns and organizations reach the right voters," Wood wrote in a blog post in February. "To do that, we've developed models that predict who a voter will support, how elastic that support might be, how a voter might cast their ballot, and more." 

Sam Bankman-Fried speaks at IIF conference

Sam Bankman-Fried speaks during the Institute of International Finance annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C., Oct. 13. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"Then, to make those predictions actionable, we've built software that guides users through the process of building great lists for persuading voters, mobilizing supporters, and raising campaign funds across a range of outreach tactics," the post continued.

In addition, in its Nov. 17 bankruptcy filing, FTX published an organizational chart that showed Bankman-Fried individually owned Deck. The cryptocurrency trading platform was forced to declare bankruptcy earlier this month after it collapsed under the weight of a self-inflicted liquidity crisis.

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According to Puck News, Deck has worked to create distance between itself and FTX in the aftermath of the collapse. The firm is also reportedly scrambling for new investors to keep it afloat.

Jaime Harrison

Jaime Harrison, the chairman of the DNC, in 2020. (Reuters/Randall Hill / Reuters Photos)

The purchase of Deck was part of Bankman-Fried's larger strategy to become more involved in politics. The former billionaire also infused about $40 million into mainly Democratic campaigns during the midterm election cycle and vowed to spend $1 billion ahead of the 2024 election.

Bankman-Fried's family is also deeply connected with Democratic Party infrastructure. His mother, Barbara Fried, leads Mind the Gap, a California-based group that funnels massive amounts of money to Democratic campaigns.

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Bankman-Fried ultimately purchased Deck after his mother told him about the startup, Puck News reported.

The DNC and Wood didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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