Modern Finance
June 1, 2021

FTX - Building Crytpo Exchanges FTX and Serum with Sam Bankman-Fried

Kevin chats with FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried. FTX is a cryptocurrency exchange that offers derivatives, options, volatility products, and leveraged tokens. Serum, created by FTX, is a decentralized exchange (DEX) and ecosystem that brings unprecedented speed and low transaction costs to decentralized finance. It is built on Solana and is completely permissionless.


Sam Bankman-Fried (@SBF_Alameda) is the founder and CEO of FTX.




  • What are FTX and Project Serum, and why do we need more decentralized crypto exchanges? [00:53]
  • How did Sam get started in the world of crypto? [05:08]
  • What opportunity did Sam identify in the crypto market when he was working in arbitrage? [08:14]
  • How did this arbitrage opportunity fluctuate between 2017 and 2019? [09:58]
  • How is effective arbitrage trading possible when transfers are slow? Does the crypto market have an advantage over stocks in this regard? [10:40]
  • What frustrations with the status quo of crypto trading coaxed Sam into the consumer market? [12:06]
  • What value was Sam hoping consumers would find in FTX? [15:38]
  • Did embracing Solana early on bring FTX an influx of new users? [17:10]
  • "Come for the SOL, stay for the DOGE." [17:36]
  • What problems did embracing Solana help solve? [18:13]
  • A short list of fast chains, and why transactions per second is a meter that matters more in some cases than others. [20:08]
  • How fast should DeFi be? [25:54]
  • How honest are marketing campaigns declaring automated market making (AMM) superior to order book models? [27:22]
  • Why was the Serum Project created, and how does it differ from FTX proper? [30:22]
  • Aside from Solana, what other factors does Sam see contributing to Serum's on-chain ecosystem? [33:19]
  • What's the function of Serum's token? How is it earned and staked? [34:15]
  • What's the function of FTX's token, and how is it sourced? [35:16]
  • What is one of the most interesting FTX features not currently available on FTX US? [35:58]
  • How are shares tracked and verified behind the scenes at FTX? [37:55]
  • What are the criteria for currencies being accepted to FTX, and what are Sam's thoughts on efficient cross-chain swaps? [41:27]
  • Crypto projects Sam finds interesting. [47:47]
  • What really determines the market cap for a token? [49:42]
  • Thoughts on DAOs. [51:28]
  • Where does Sam see FTX and Serum in the next five years or so? [53:13]
  • Will FTX ever dabble in NFTs? [56:57]
  • Parting thoughts. [57:19]