Sam Bankman-Fried described as a “Devil in Nerd’s Clothes”
The founder and former CEO of a supposedly successful crypto business, Sam Bankman-Fried, is reported to be hiding out in the Bahamas while his empire collapses around him.
Bankman-Fried, 30, resigned from FTX on Friday, as the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy and reports emerged that up to $2 billion in client funds had vanished from the company’s books in recent weeks.
According to Coin Telegraph, the disgraced former CEO is holed up at the Albany Tower alongside FTX co-founder Gary Wang and the company’s director of engineering Nishad Singh.
…A source told Coin Telegraph: ‘Right now three of them, Sam, Gary, and Nishad are under supervision in the Bahamas. Which means it will be hard for them to leave.’
The same source said that it was Bankman-Fried’s plan to escape to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, a country with no extradition treaties, as the walls close in around him.
Bankman-Fried, described as the “Devil in nerd’s clothes,” bragged about his cryptocurrency exchange’s shaky business model and kept the books closed to all but a few confidants.
Well before the catastrophic collapse of his FTX cryptocurrency exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried told everyone what he was doing. He told them about his appetite for risk. He told them some crypto exchanges were “secretly insolvent.” Last year, he declared his net worth, then an estimated $10 billion, was in “mostly illiquid” assets. Even when Bloomberg’s Matt Levine suggested he was in the “Ponzi business” during an interview in April, Bankman-Fried didn’t disagree. “I think that’s a pretty reasonable response,” he said.
That he was headed for calamity was inevitable. But with the ecosystem of hype and awe built around him, few heard what he was really saying. Employees, customers, and investors alike all saw the dollar signs being minted from his crypto market makers, including FTX, leaving few reasons to believe what Bankman-Fried had been saying all along.
Prominent FTX backer Sequoia Capital was also caught in the gravitational pull, publishing a now-deleted 14,000 word paean to Bankman-Fried that likened him to fictional protagonist Jay Gatsby. (“Is crypto the new jazz?” the author wondered, apparently not considering that the titular Gatsby earned his fortune through crime.) This week, Sequoia wrote down its $213 million FTX investment to $0.
“Sam Bankman-Fried was the devil in nerd’s clothes,” said a BlockFi director whose future is now uncertain thanks to a now defunct deal with FTX that could have soothed the crypto lender’s liquidity woes after filing for bankruptcy itself in October.
Given the results of last week’s election, it could certainly be suggested Karma has come for a visit. Bankman-Fried was the second largest billionaire donor to Democratic causes. Altogether he gave $39.9 million, including $35 million to three different political action committees.
Reportedly, he meddled considerably in recent Republican primaries.
Bankman-Fried has supported Republicans during this cycle, primarily through his $2 million contribution to the blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused GMI super PAC. But the bulk of his giving, including $27 million to the Protect Our Future super PAC and $6 million to the House Majority super PAC, has gone to support Democrats.
Bankman-Fried told Forbes last month that “much of this was for primaries, rather than D vs R general elections” ($33 million of his contributions were made during the first four months of 2022.)
Hopefully, his next destination will be less pleasant than the Bahama Islands.DONATE
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