Crypto exchange FTX is widening its ambitions to target the luxury market, and it has hired former model-turned-beauty entrepreneur Lauren Remington Platt to head the push.
Platt will hunt out major luxury brands — a market estimated to be worth $300 billion — that have not yet gotten into cryptocurrency, the company said Wednesday.
It has focused its efforts on sports, including a Super Bowl ad and giveaway, and paying $135 million for the naming rights to NBA team the Miami Heat’s stadium.
But FTX has also signed up supermodel Gisele Bündchen and her husband football star Tom Brady as long-term partners, and the new hire marks a deeper move into fashion and beauty.
Platt is the founder of high-end beauty company Vensette, where she developed brand alliances with the likes of Vogue, Chopard, and Michael Kors, according to FTX.
“We are thrilled to have Lauren join FTX and lead our next marketing foray into luxury partnerships. Her wealth of experience in the fashion and luxury space will be essential for the next phase of growth of our team’s partnership and branding focus,” the exchange’s CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said in a statement.
Last year’s jump in cryptocurrency prices helped create a new crop luxury buyers — young Americans with profit to spend, according to a December report from Jefferies. People under 35 are using that crypto cash to buy art, expensive jewelry, apparel, and accessories, it found.
“Our conversations would indicate as much as 20%-25% of [last 12-month] sales may have been generated by this phenomenon,” Jeffries analysts said in the report.
Recent examples of luxury brands getting into crypto include Prada teaming up with Adidas to launch an NFT, Ralph Lauren opening 24/7 digital stores in the Roblox metaverse, and Gucci joining forces with Superplastic to offer limited-edition NFTs.
Platt told Insider women are underrepresented in crypto, and she hopes to bring some change to this in new role.
“Only 9% of women feel they understand crypto, and this means that the majority of women are being left behind from one of the most important opportunities for wealth creation of our generation,” she said.
FTX is also targeting the gaming sector, also popular with crypto-friendly millennials and Generation Z. On Monday, it launched a division to offer its platform to games publishers wanting to bring blockchain and NFTs to their titles.
Separately, FTX said it had a funding round of $400 million at the end of January, which valued the exchange at $32 billion and attracted investment firms such as SoftBank, Tiger Global and Temasek.
This funding round will support its growth plans through 2022, the company said.
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