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April 23, 2019, 8:11 p.m. EDT

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son reportedly lost $130 million on bitcoin bet

Buy-in said to have come at peak of bitcoin price in late 2017

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By Rachael Levy and Liz Hoffman

AFP/Getty Images
Softbank Group CEO Masayoshi Son speaks in Tokyo in November 2018.

Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder of SoftBank Group Corp., made a huge personal bet on bitcoin just as prices for the digital currency peaked, losing more than $130 million when he sold out, according to people familiar with the matter.

Son, who launched the world’s biggest venture-capital fund on the strength of his long-term investing acumen, made the investment in late 2017 at the recommendation of a well-known bitcoin booster, whose investment firm SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 +4.30%   bought that year, the people said.

The exact size of the bet couldn’t be determined, but it came at the peak of the bitcoin frenzy after the digital currency had already risen more than 10-fold in 2017, the people said. Bitcoin peaked at nearly $20,000 in mid-December 2017, and Mr. Son sold in early 2018 after bitcoin had plummeted.

Bitcoin /zigman2/quotes/31322028/realtime BTCUSD -0.14%  was trading up 3.8% at $5,586.88 late afternoon Tuesday.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 4,805.00
+198.00 +4.30%
Volume: 25.66M
May 26, 2020 3:00p
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
¥9527.24 billion
Rev. per Employee
US : CoinDesk
-12.14 -0.14%
Volume: 0.00
May 26, 2020 5:54p

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