Shark Tank host Kevin O’Leary has become an official spokesperson for Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange and will be paid in crypto and receive equity as part of the deal.
According to a Tuesday announcement, the partnership with FTX Trading Ltd. and West Realm Shires Services Inc. (owners of FTX.US and FTX.com) will see O’Leary take an equity stake in both firms.
The venture capitalist, also known colloquially as “Mr. Wonderful,” signed the multi-year deal to serve as a brand ambassador and spokesperson. He asked to be paid in crypto assets to increase his holdings.
Finally solved my compliance problems with #cryptocurrencies I'm going to use FTX to increase my allocation and use the platform to manage my portfolios https://t.co/yaoRUnXy14— Kevin O'Leary aka Mr. Wonderful (@kevinolearytv) August 10, 2021
In the announcement, O’Leary noted that “institutional investors struggle with the decision to invest in crypto assets,” as they harbor compliance-related concerns as he did regarding crypto:
“I am no different. I want to increase my crypto exposure but also serve my compliance mandates. When it comes to rapidly changing compliance and tax reporting requirements, the current cryptocurrency ecosystem is fraught with risks that I can not take.”
He also added, “To find crypto investment opportunities that met my own rigorous standards of compliance, I entered into this relationship with FTX.”
Regulatory compliance in crypto has been a long-standing issue for the investor, and he previously stated back in 2019 that:
“I have no interest in doing any of this crypto crap because it is not compliant.”
Related: Regulatory clarity for crypto would take 3 to 5 years, FTX CEO says
O’Leary has been tasked with elevating the brand to large audiences and has already got to work on social media by promoting an FTX CryptoPunk nonfungible token giveaway on Twitter. However, he unfortunately misspelled a word in the caption of his post, which reads “what to win a CryptoPunk? Here’s your chance!”
What to want is confusing.— greg16676935690 (@greg16676935690) August 10, 2021
The venture capitalist has a knack for coming up with colorful nicknames for crypto, and in January, he referred to Bitcoin (BTC) as a “giant nothing-burger” due to its inconsistent regulatory frameworks across the globe. He has also described BTC mined in non-environmentally friendly ways as “Blood Coin.”
He has changed his tune on Bitcoin and revealed plans to allocate 3% of his investment portfolio to BTC in March. This week, he called Ethereum “ultrasound money” in a Cameo video.