Elon Musk has always been an entrepreneur who thinks outside the box, and he recently surprised the tech and banking industries by announcing his interest in buying Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) to create a digital bank.
This news comes after his purchase of Twitter for $44 billion, where he said the social media giant would likely become cash positive. As of December last year, roughly 95% of Silicon Valley Bank’s deposits were FIDC uninsured, per CNBC.
The bank served some of the world’s most well-known tech investors and was a preferred lender for entrepreneurs and their executives.
Silicon Valley Bank’s closure by California regulators marked the second-largest bank failure in American history after the undoing of Washington Mutual during the financial crisis of 2008.
The bank’s sudden collapse sent shockwaves through the tech and crypto communities, as numerous companies have already signaled their exposure to the bank.
Less than two days before its closure, the bank had startled Wall Street and its depositors with desperate attempts to borrow money in order to prevent a collapse due to withdrawal requests and a sharp decrease in the value of its investment holdings.
New York Times reports that the bank was collaborating with consultants on a prospective sale and had stopped trading in its shares following a sharp decline.
As the receiver, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will sell off the bank’s assets to reimburse its clients, including depositors and creditors.
Customers whose accounts exceeded the $250,000 insurance cap set by the FDIC would receive certificates for their uninsured funds, making them among the first in line to receive repayment from funds recovered while the FDIC is holding Silicon Valley Bank in receivership, even if only partially.
Musk’s interest in SVB
Musk’s interest in SVB comes as the fallout from the bank’s collapse continues to affect numerous crypto companies. Failed crypto lender BlockFi, which filed for bankruptcy in November in the wake of FTX’s collapse, reportedly has $227 million in funds held at SVB that are not insured by the FDIC.
Additionally, Circle, issuer of the world’s second-largest stablecoin USDC, announced that some undisclosed portion of the cash reserves used to back USDC and tie its value to the US dollar were held at SVB.
Musk’s potential acquisition of SVB and the creation of a digital bank could have significant implications for the tech and banking industries, as well as for the wider cryptocurrency ecosystem.
If successful, the move could put Musk in a position to disrupt traditional banking and provide innovative solutions to customers who are dissatisfied with the current system.
SVB has been a key player in the tech industry for decades, serving as a lender and financial advisor to many of Silicon Valley’s most successful startups.
Nearly half of all US venture capital-backed startups were involved with SVB, and 88% of Forbes’ 2022 next billion startups were SVB clients. Before its collapse, it held $210 billion in assets and was the 16th largest bank in the United States.