Disgraced FTX Co-Founder Awaits Trial, Passes Time Playing Video Games and Blogging on His New Substack Newsletter
The former CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), has published a Substack newsletter on Jan. 12, 2023, and the first post is titled “FTX Pre-Mortem Overview.” In the post, SBF maintains that an “extreme, quick, targeted crash precipitated by the CEO of Binance made Alameda insolvent.” The blog post does not mention the allegations made by his former co-workers, ex-Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang. The disgraced former FTX executive also conducted a one-on-one interview at his home in Palo Alto with Puck News reporter Theodore Schleifer.
Former FTX CEO Fights Fraud Charges, Maintains Innocence in New Substack Post
The co-founder of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), has been more vocal in recent times since his arrest and initial court appearances before a Southern District of New York judge. On January 12, 2023, SBF began a Substack newsletter called “SBF’s Substack” and published his first post about the fall of FTX and Alameda Research, the quantitative trading firm that he founded in 2019. In the first blog post, SBF insists that he did not steal any customer funds.
— SBF (@SBF_FTX) January 12, 2023
“I didn’t steal funds, and I certainly didn’t stash billions away,” the former CEO of FTX wrote. SBF also emphasized that he did not “run Alameda for the past few years.” He stated that three factors contributed to the fall of FTX and Alameda, including Alameda’s balance sheet swelling and Alameda’s failure to “sufficiently hedge its market exposure.” Additionally, SBF believes that the final nail in the coffin for FTX was driven by Binance CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao. In the Substack blog post, SBF said:
In November 2022, an extreme, quick, targeted crash precipitated by the CEO of Binance made Alameda insolvent.
Much of SBF’s Substack blog post is similar to previous interviews he gave before his arrest. There is little new information in the blog post in comparison to what the FTX co-founder said during his media tour in mid-November 2022. While SBF insists that he “didn’t steal funds,” the former FTX executive does not address the allegations made by his former co-workers, ex-Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang, who have reported financial misconduct and the commingling of FTX customer funds with Alameda Research starting in 2019.
SBF Reaches Out to New CEO to Lend a Hand But Remains Isolated and Lonely
SBF also mentioned that after transferring FTX US to John J. Ray III, the exchange was still solvent. “It’s ridiculous that FTX US users haven’t been made whole and gotten their funds back yet,” SBF commented in his blog post. The former FTX CEO, who has been disgraced, also discussed his dealings with the new FTX CEO Ray with Puck News reporter Theodore Schleifer. The Puck reporter met SBF at his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California, where SBF greeted him wearing his government-issued ankle bracelet. SBF’s German shepherd “Sandor” was also present at the house.
I wrote the other day that Sam Bankman-Fried believes deeply that the traditional crisis comms textbook is dead.
The decision to release this says it all better than I could. https://t.co/gAVcmy08sK
— Teddy Schleifer (@teddyschleifer) January 12, 2023
Schleifer reported that SBF reached out to the new FTX CEO John Ray “six or seven times” to offer his help. The Puck reporter noted that Ray has “kept his distance” from the former FTX CEO. The interview highlights that SBF is lonely and isolated and he’s “relieved to have regained access to the Internet,” Schleifer reported. The Puck reporter had known SBF before the exchange’s demise as they chatted in the fall of 2020. Schleifer wrote “we were both interested in the effective altruism movement” and they would “text every few months about politics or philanthropy.” The interview was two-and-a-half hours long and SBF discussed his hardship of being a vegan when he was in jail in The Bahamas and eating a lot of peanut butter.
While awaiting his October 3, 2023 trial in the Southern District of New York and facing eight counts of financial fraud and conspiracy charges, SBF continues to play “lots of video games.” According to Schleifer, SBF’s game of choice these days is “Storybrook Brawl,” but the disgraced FTX co-founder does not use his gaming handle or speak with other players. Despite playing video games, “it doesn’t really fully distract from what’s going on,” SBF told Schleifer.
Although Schleifer notes “that there are not many real people for [SBF] to talk to anymore,” the interview does not address the accusations made by Ellison and Wang. The Puck interview briefly mentions that both co-workers have “flipped on [SBF]” and that FTX’s director of engineering, “[Nishad Singh], is expected to do the same.”
What do you think about SBF’s efforts to clear his name? Share your thoughts in the comments below.