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Billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried thinks Solana is the ‘most underrated’ token, hiccups and all

·3 min read
Photograph by Spencer Heyfron

Solana is currently dealing with a wallet exploit that began Tuesday evening which drained 8,000 wallets and over $5 million in funds. But, even still, multibillionaire Sam Bankman-Fried remains bullish.

For SBF, as he's universally known, Solana's SOL is the most "underrated token right now ... at least as of a month ago." SBF made the comments during an exclusive interview for Fortune's latest cover story, and in true crypto fashion, SBF also stressed that his opinion is “not investment advice.”

Even with the ongoing Solana wallet hack, SBF's opinion is unchanged, the 30-year-old CEO of crypto exchange FTX said in an email. "This wasn't a core blockchain problem, likely seems like one app someone built was buggy," he wrote.

Indeed, crypto security firms share SBF's hunch that the exploit was not the result of a vulnerability with the Solana blockchain itself. Instead, they suspect the exploit was due to a mass compromise of users' private keys, or passwords, by a third party.

Solana touts itself as a faster alternative to the Ethereum blockchain, offering smart contracts—which are collections of code that execute a set of instructions on-chain—that power non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and various decentralized applications (dApps). In the last year, Solana’s cryptocurrency SOL rose to be among the top 10 by market value. However, it hasn’t all been peachy for Solana, as we've seen this week and in the recent past. Most commonly, the network has experienced multiple outages and downtime, causing concern surrounding its network reliability, security and stability.

But, as he hold Fortune, SBF said he sees growth potential for Solana, despite its hiccups.

“I think it had a lot of bad PR over a short period of time—I think it sort of deserved that, to be clear: Technologically, it had a lot of shit to work through,” SBF noted. “But, I think it has already worked through two-thirds of that. I think it will get through the other third.”

Of course, SBF is not totally impartial as he has invested in the Solana network—either through his companies or directly. Alameda Research, a trading shop founded by Bankman-Fried, participated in a $314 million funding round for Solana Labs in June 2021. He is also building Serum, a decentralized exchange, on Solana.

To SBF, what most people miss about Solana is that “anytime you test the limits of what's possible, that's when you figure out what breaks. Any blockchain would have broken if it tried to do what Solana had done, and this was a way for it to figure out what needed to be refined and what needed to be improved.”

While he did “wish” that Solana’s past “validator issues” had been resolved earlier—and acknowledges this “probably” could have happed—the project's habit of pushing the boundaries and seeing what breaks is “what blockchains should be trying to do right now in order to grow,” SBF said.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com