Fallen FTX Crypto Billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s Wild Admission in New Interview

If there were lingering doubts about Sam Bankman-Fried’s strategic thinking, assuming the bankruptcy filing could be overlooked, the bizarre tweetsand billions of dollars in missing customer assets — those doubts are sure to vanish after midnight Wednesday, when the fallen billionaire opted to DM with a Vox reporter to discuss his endangered cryptocurrency exchange FTX, providing answers with a level of frankness that would make many lawyers puke.

The 30-year-old is experiencing a virtually unprecedented meltdown. In quick succession, he had gone from MIT prodigy to millionaire to billionaire to global cryptocurrency figurehead, only to have it all vaporized overnight. She doesn’t seem to take his fall well.

Last summer, Bankman-Fried described his ethical landscape to Vox reporter Kelsey Piper, telling her that unethical conduct was not acceptable, even in the service of the “greater good.”

In their conversation early Wednesday, Piper asked him if he was okay with it. “Dude, all the bullshit I said,” she replied. “That’s not true, not really.”

Ethics, he explained, are not as important to a person’s public standing as whether they achieve success. The worst place to be, she said, is both being “inaccurate” and “losing.”

“I understand why you haven’t given that answer in interviews,” Piper said of the new shot.

Bankman-Fried replied, “huh.”

Wednesday the 30 year old tweeted that he had no intention of making his comments public, saying he believed he was speaking to Piper privately as a “friend”. He added that “some of the things I said were thoughtless or overly forceful.” (Piper disputed that she and Bankman-Fried were friends and she said she did not ask for her comments to be kept under wraps.)

Investigations into FTX are ongoing both in the United States and in the Bahamas, where the company is based, although Bankman-Fried, whose parents are both professors at Stanford Law School, has not been charged with any crimes. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This week, the former billionaire was also hit with a federal lawsuit seeking class action status in Miami District Court alleging that FTX engaged in a “fraudulent scheme” that caused more than $11 billion in damages. dollars to consumers. Celebrities including Tom Brady, Naomi Osaka, Gisele Bundchen and Shark tank Judge Kevin O’Leary was also named a defendant. The lawsuit accused FTX of using celebrities “to raise money and get American consumers to invest … by pouring billions of dollars into [d]receptive FTX platform to keep the entire scheme afloat.

The chaos at FTX moved quickly. Below are five of this week’s biggest results.

1. Bankman-Fried regrets filing for bankruptcy.

“I fucked up,” he admitted to Vox. “Great… several times.” But perhaps “my single biggest screw-up,” she said, was filing for bankruptcy after FTX failed to get a bailout, leaving it on the brink of collapse. Around the same time, Bankman-Fried was booted as chief executive and the new regime, he said, was “trying to burn everything in shame.” If he’d waited just another month, he grumbled, maybe he’d be able to unblock the withdrawal process and make the customers whole. Now Bankman-Fried is trying to raise $8 billion to bail out FTX. The obvious question: who could deliver that money? “There’s something about having fallen,” he said. “There are people who know what it’s like, and who want to do for someone else what no one has done for them.”

2. His philanthropic persona was at least partially bogus.

Bankman-Fried spoke endlessly about the philanthropic movement known as effective altruism, which advocates working to “help others” as efficiently and productively as possible. It is similar to, but in some ways distinct from, classical utilitarianism. The fallen billionaire admitted to Vox that some of his public statements about ethics were little more than PR baloney. “Sorry to those who got screwed by it,” he said, referring to “this stupid game we woke Westerners up to where we say all the right shibboleths so everyone likes us.”

3. Bankman-Fried admits his work with regulators has been a farce.

The former FTX leader had cultivated connections in Washington, testifying before Congress and speaking with regulators and lawmakers. It turns out it was all a farce. His true opinion, according to Wednesday’s interview: “Fuck the Regulators.” According to Bankman-Fried, bureaucrats are incapable of distinguishing the good players from the bad ones, and not just in the cryptocurrency world. The Office of Foreign Assets Control, responsible for enforcing the sanctions, said, “it is the single greatest threat” to the United States losing its superpower status. The Food and Drug Administration is also not helpful, she argued. After the Vox article was published, Bankman-Fried retraced some of his comments Chirping. “It is *really* hard being a regulator. They have an impossible job: regulating entire industries that are growing faster than their mandate allows them to do,” he wrote. “And so often end up mostly unable to oversee as well as they ideally would… Even so, there they are regulators who have deeply impressed me with their knowledge and thoughtfulness.”

4. It seems to be playing semantic games about how FTX used customer deposits.

The world took notice when, prior to the epic crash, Bankman-Fried deleted a tweet insisting that client funds were “fine” and that FTX did not “invest client assets.” It later emerged that FTX had indeed bailed out Alameda Research, a trading company Bankman-Fried co-founded, but which was operating under a riskier business model. He kept his comments to Vox, claiming they were “factually accurate,” since Alameda was under his larger corporate umbrella. But as Axios noted, FTX’s terms of service prohibited using client money to fund trading activities. In Wednesday’s interview, Bankman-Fried said he “didn’t intend” to do things “inaccurate,” and partially blamed the mess on poor bookkeeping. “Every individual decision seemed fine and I didn’t realize how big their sum was until the very end,” she added.

5. FTX had an “in-house performance coach” and boy is he surprised at the company’s downfall.

In an interview with The New York Times, psychiatrist George K. Lerner said he educated FTX employees about their careers and mental health. He has a hard time accepting the idea of ​​Bankman-Fried as a “criminal mastermind,” he said. Lerner also dismissed recent intrigues about romantic mingling between FTX employees, including executives. “They were working too much,” he said. “The superiors mostly played chess and board games. There was no party. They were unsexual, if anything.

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