FTX has slam dunked US$500 in crypto to every spectator in a section of the FTX Arena – the Miami Heat’s home stadium. The exchange has also just raised a cool US$420 million in a new funding round.

The giveaway happened at the Miami Heat’s NBA season-opening game against the Milwaukee Bucks on October 21, and it’s estimated the PR stunt would have cost about US$150,000. The actual type of crypto seems to be unspecified, according to reports. Although perhaps it’s simply $500 worth of USD to spend on the FTX exchange.

And what about the spectators in the other 79 sections of the stadium? They got something, too… a specially branded T-shirt and an NFT. Still, better than a basketball to the face, and at least their team thrashed the opposition 137-95. (Unless they were members of the away crowd, that is.)

The unique but growing niche of US sports and crypto fans has been speculating on Twitter about further giveaways to come at future Miami Heat home games.

That’s no guarantee, but the way FTX has been splashing its cash around and building partnerships this year, it’s not a bad time to be a Heat fan, and an FTT holder. FTT is the exchange crypto token for FTX, and is up by more than 1,600 per cent over the past year.

In April, FTX paid US$135 million to rename the Miami Heat NBA stadium FTX Arena for the next 19 years.

And the exchange has been going hard on US-based sporting partnerships all year, recently signing the Green Bay Packers NFL running back Aaron Jones to its star-studded stable of ambassadors, joining the likes of Tom Brady, Steph Curry and several others.


Meme-themed $420.69 million raise

And in the other big FTX-related news from the past 24 hours, the exchange has announced it’s closed a new US$420.69 million raise from a total of 69 investors – just mere months after it raised more than US$900 million in a Series B funding round.

This now gives the rapidly growing company a whopping great big valuation of US$25 billion.

Led by the young multi-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX has become a crypto-wielding force to be reckoned with and is intent on putting itself not only in the sporting spotlight, but in the good books with regulators.

“For this [funding] round, we were able to partner with investors that prioritise positioning FTX as the world’s most transparent and compliant cryptocurrency exchange,” said Bankman-Fried.

Some of those 69 investors include Tiger Global, Ribbit Capital, Lightspeed Ventures and Sequoia Capital… as well as “funds and accounts managed by BlackRock”.

FTX head of product Ramnik Arora noted that the new funding will help the company expand its market opportunities in equities, prediction markets, non-fungible tokens (NFT) and video game partnerships. “We expect to make strategic investments designed to grow the business and expand our regulatory coverage,” he said.

Oh, and you might be wondering what’s with the numbers 420 and 69? Memes. It’s all about the memes.

Reggae fans, and regular readers of Stockhead’s Health & Biotech section, should understand the 420 reference. As for 69… insert Beavis and Butthead sniggering here.