​​29-year old billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried says he got into crypto just to trade – but 2 things quickly made him realize the long-term potential of digital money

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX and Alameda Research
Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of and Alameda Research FTX

29-year old crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried told CNBC on Tuesday he initially entered into the industry without a firm stance on the future of digital assets.

“I honestly first got into crypto without knowing what I would think of crypto. I got into it because there was good trading there,” said Bankman-Fried.

The founder of crypto trading firm Alameda Research and crypto derivatives exchange FTX didn’t think about crypto’s long-term role in the world until he had to send an international wire transfer. After dealing with the cumbersome process he began to realize that current payment rails “are not very good,” and can often take months to settle.

“I think anyone who’s tried to send an international wire transfer will tell you they regret it,” he said.

Bankman-Fried also said that when he began to interact with people in countries without global reserve currencies, he saw further potential for crypto.

“If you don’t happen to come from a country with a global reserve currency, the idea of having an external currency that is sort of immutable and cannot be screwed with by forces starts to look a little bit more appealing,” he said.

His CNBC interview came one day after FTX announced it would cut the amount of leverage offered to crypto customers from 100x to 20x.