He is an outspoken advocate of digital currencies, tweeting about his market predictions and speaking favorably about blockchain technology and decentralized finance in interviews. He has invested in numerous Web3 companies and NFTs, and personally invested in bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin.
Due to his vast wealth, successful business endeavors (both crypto and non-crypto), and famous persona, his commentary on crypto markets and investment dealings are closely watched by the media.
Cuban has remained bullish on crypto in the market turmoil of 2022, citing his belief in the value of smart contracts and decentralized financial technology. In December 2022, he said he wants to buy more bitcoin and prefers investing in that over gold, calling bitcoin “a store of value.”
Cuban was born in 1958 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was interested in business at a young age, earning money by selling stamps and coins and delivering newspapers. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for one year and then transferred to Indiana University, earning a Bachelor of Science in management in 1981.
After college, Cuban founded MicroSolutions, a system integrator and software reseller company that he sold in 1990 to CompuServe for $6 million.
In 1995, he co-founded AudioNet (later named Broadcast.com), which offered live radio programming online. The company was hugely successful, going public in 1998 and later sold to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion at the height of the dot-com bubble.
He went on to co-found and acquire companies in a range of fields, including 2929 Entertainment and Landmark Theatres, and has stakes in Magnolia Pictures, and AXS TV, among numerous other tech startups.
A longtime basketball fan, Cuban purchased a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks for $285 million in 2000 and is credited with turning the then-mediocre team into a valuable franchise.
Cuban also became a “shark” investor on the reality show Shark Tank in 2011, making him a household name. As of 2022, he has invested almost $20 million on 85 deals on the show.
Role in cryptocurrency community
Cuban was originally skeptical of cryptocurrencies. As Bitcoin was gaining mainstream popularity in 2017, he told Vanity Fair that investing in digital currencies was like throwing a “hail Mary” pass (a long forward pass in American football made out of desperation). He advised investors to put only 10% in bitcoin or Ethereum, or any amount they would be willing to lose.
However, later that year Cuban announced his intention to invest in the ICO (initial coin offering) of one of his startup investments, an e-sports betting site named Unikrn. He said he wanted to learn more about the ICO process and described the opportunity as “high risk, high reward.”
Cuban’s support of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies accelerated as he learned more about the industry. His investments not only helped provide capital to crypto businesses, they also helped give blockchain projects publicity and recognition.
Some of Cuban’s notable investments include Polygon Technology, a blockchain platform that enables networks to connect and scale; Aave, an open-source liquidity pool; Arbitrum, a technology suite to scale Ethereum; and OpenSea, an NFT marketplace. Cuban believes that projects like Polygon (and blockchain technologies in general) save money on third party services by using decentralized networks.
In January 2022, he said in an interview that aside from Shark Tank, 80% of his new investments are in and around cryptocurrencies.
In early 2021, Cuban took an interest in NFTs (non-fungible tokens) before they came into the crypto mainstream. He minted his first NFT during that time and was impressed with the opportunity to earn revenue on the secondary sales of the asset. “The fact that you could take a digital file — audio, video, picture, whatever — and not only mint it to sell it, but also attach royalties to it, I’m like, ‘How can you do that?’ Because you can’t do that with anything physical,” he said at a Bitcoin conference.
He was a supporter of NBA’s TopShot (an NFT marketplace) and started his own NFT platform called Lazy.com, where he displays his personal collection.
He said NFTs made him go “all in” on cryptocurrency, as well as deepen his learning of smart contracts. He saw NFTs as a proof of concept for what can be done with smart contracts and decentralized finance.
Cuban has spoken favorably about crypto in numerous interviews. In December 2021, he tweeted: “Don’t think of crypto as a currencies. Think of them as decentralized, secure, networked platforms with features that allow for the development of apps that can have unique utility for individuals and businesses.”
He is also a big proponent of smart contracts, believing that they could eventually take the place of traditional business operations. In the spring of 2022, while lamenting the crypto lull and calling the digital asset space too crowded with similar projects, he speculated that commercial smart contracts can play a significant role in improving business models.
“What we have not seen is the use of Smart Contracts to improve business productivity and profitability” Cuban said via his Twitter. “That will have to be the next driver. When businesses can use Smart Contracts to gain a competitive advantage, they will. The chains that realize this will survive.”
He has also shown an interest in DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), predicting that they could lead to disruptions in the financial industry, particularly in banking and insurance, by removing the need for centralized entities and democratizing business decisions.
Mark Cuban essentials
- Mark Cuban is a billionaire investor and entrepreneur, famous for his vast wealth, his role on Shark Tank, and being the owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
- Cuban has been an influential financer in crypto in recent years, investing in blockchain companies and owning various cryptocurrencies.
- He has been an outspoken proponent of crypto, citing that smart contracts and other decentralized technologies can disrupt traditional financial products.