TV's Kevin O’Leary: ‘All the Crypto Cowboys Are Going to Be Gone Soon’

O’Leary, an entrepreneur and television personality, was paid $15 million by FTX for “20 service hours, 20 social posts, one virtual lunch and 50 autographs,” according to Michael Lewis’s new book “Going Infinite.”

AccessTimeIconOct 3, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. UTC

Kevin O’Leary, the Canadian entrepreneur and television personality who reportedly served as a paid spokesperson for the now-collapsed FTX exchange, thinks the era of what he calls “crypto cowboys” is waning as the industry shifts to being regulated.

“All the crypto cowboys that were the founders of this industry," O’Leary said during an interview on CoinDesk TV, "they’re all going to be gone soon. ... They all have arrows in their backs.”

Despite all of this, O’Leary remains optimistic about crypto, but won’t get involved in an exchange unless it's 100% compliant.

"The promise of crypto still remains, it's still there," he said. "When you invest in venture capital ... eight out of 10 fail."

Michael Lewis's book on Sam Bankman-Fried, 'Going Infinite'

According to Michael Lewis’s new book, "Going Infinite," O’Leary was paid $15.7 million by FTX for “20 service hours, 20 social posts, one virtual lunch and 50 autographs.”

The usefulness of O’Leary as a spokesperson was questioned by some FTX executives, including Constance Wang, its former chief operating officer, according to the book.

“Investing is a social network. It makes no sense but it is,” is how Bankman-Fried explained it, who also allegedly tried to hire CNBC’s Jim Cramer, according to Lewis. “One million people follow O’Leary, and they follow him for his financial advice.”

“It’s shocking, but it’s true,” he continued.

Promoting another crypto exchange

During the interview with CoinDesk TV, O’Leary mentioned a crypto exchange called M2 based in Abu Dhabi and recently licensed by local regulators in August.

During a separate appearance on Fox Business Network, he also mentioned M2, calling it “totally compliant, backed and incredibly stable that can be used by anyone on a compliant basis."

The remarks were so positive that last week M2 recirculated the clip from its own account on X (formerly Twitter).

O’Leary said he hasn’t yet been “invited to invest” in the exchange, nor is he being paid by them.

Last year, O’Leary appeared in a commercial for Abu Dhabi Global Market, the Emirate’s international financial center, called “Abu Dhabi Where Ambitions Thrive.”


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