‘One of many Most Hated Individuals within the World’: Sam Bankman-Fried’s 250 Pages of Justifications | Digital Noch

On the finish of a 15,000-word Twitter thread he by no means posted, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founding father of the failed cryptocurrency change FTX, supplied a blunt evaluation of his predicament.

“I’m broke and carrying an ankle monitor and some of the hated individuals on the planet,” he wrote. “There’ll most likely by no means be something I can do to make my lifetime influence internet constructive.”

He added: “And the reality is that I did what I believed was proper.”

After Mr. Bankman-Fried was arrested, charged with fraud over FTX’s collapse and positioned in dwelling detention in December, he wrote a whole bunch of pages of typically rambling self-justifications, starting from childhood reminiscences to mathematical calculations.

In a draft of his unsent posts, which he formatted as a collection of tweets spanning roughly 70 typed pages, he criticized a few of his closest colleagues, interspersing his arguments with images from his highschool years and inventory pictures of popcorn and a backyard maze. Each few pages, a key second within the narrative is accompanied with a hyperlink to a music video by Alicia Keys, Katy Perry or Rihanna.

As soon as a prolific poster on Twitter, now generally known as X, Mr. Bankman-Fried, 31, labeled the thread “a draft of a draft of a draft of an thought” and included hyperlinks to 29 different recordsdata about FTX. One doc, titled “Inception V2,” is a prolonged assault on the corporate’s chapter attorneys, that includes a screenshot from the 2010 Christopher Nolan film. A separate hyperlink pulls up a spreadsheet itemizing Mr. Bankman-Fried’s Amazon orders from 2021.

The roughly 250 pages of paperwork, which haven’t been beforehand reported, present a window into Mr. Bankman-Fried’s mind-set in the course of the eight months he spent in dwelling detention earlier than a decide revoked his bail in August. The writings additionally provide new particulars about his attainable authorized protection past what his attorneys have revealed in court docket, shedding gentle on how he could justify his actions when his trial begins on Oct. 3.

Prosecutors have charged Mr. Bankman-Fried with orchestrating a scheme to funnel FTX buyer funds to a hedge fund he based, Alameda Analysis, in order that his firms might make enterprise capital investments, purchase actual property and donate to politicians. He has pleaded not responsible and faces many years in jail if convicted.

Throughout his home arrest, Mr. Bankman-Fried despatched the paperwork to Tiffany Fong, a social media influencer who has a YouTube channel in regards to the crypto business. Ms. Fong shared them with The New York Instances.

“He preferred that I don’t work for anyone,” she mentioned. “He thinks I can simply type of come to my very own conclusions.”

A consultant for Mr. Bankman-Fried declined to remark.

In a number of paperwork, Mr. Bankman-Fried blamed Caroline Ellison, his former girlfriend and onetime lieutenant, for serving to to trigger FTX’s implosion. He described her as unwell geared up for the job he gave her as head of Alameda, claiming she had cried throughout a gathering with him and refused to institute buying and selling methods that will have protected his companies from a market crash.

“She frequently prevented speaking about danger administration — dodging my ideas — till it was too late,” he wrote in a doc titled “Alameda’s Failure to Hedge.” “Each time that I reached out with ideas, it simply made her really feel worse. I’m positive that being exes didn’t assist.”

Within the Twitter draft, Mr. Bankman-Fried additionally criticized Sam Trabucco, who was co-chief government of Alameda. Mr. Trabucco and Ms. Ellison didn’t get alongside, the doc mentioned. And whereas Mr. Trabucco had good instincts for danger administration, Mr. Bankman-Fried wrote, he “was within the technique of quiet quitting” by late 2021.

Mr. Trabucco most well-liked to spend his time “happening dates with a ton of men whereas crusing around the globe on a ship,” Mr. Bankman-Fried wrote. Then he linked to a music video, “Cheers (Drink to That)” by Rihanna.

Ms. Ellison and two of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s different prime advisers have pleaded responsible to fraud prices and agreed to testify towards him. A fourth pleaded responsible this month with out promising to cooperate. Mr. Trabucco has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Attorneys for Mr. Trabucco and Ms. Ellison declined to remark.

As soon as hailed as a reliable pressure within the loosely regulated world of crypto, FTX imploded in November, costing prospects billions of {dollars} and devastating the business. After his arrest, Mr. Bankman-Fried was granted bail and allowed to dwell together with his dad and mom, who’re longtime legislation professors at Stanford, of their dwelling in Palo Alto, Calif. They bought a German shepherd named Sandor to behave as his guard canine.

For months, Mr. Bankman-Fried entertained visitors just like the creator Michael Lewis, who’s ending a guide about him, in addition to a number of reporters.

Few individuals had as a lot entry as Ms. Fong, the influencer, who had struck up a web-based rapport with Mr. Bankman-Fried earlier than FTX failed. Ms. Fong visited him at his dad and mom’ dwelling greater than 10 instances, she mentioned, and recorded conversations with him that she could finally launch.

Throughout home arrest, Mr. Bankman-Fried spent a lot of his time within the examine, Ms. Fong mentioned, the place he performed pc video games, arrange a chessboard and typically slept on the sofa. Most days, she mentioned, he labored on his authorized protection, recording ideas in regards to the case on a whole bunch of pages of Google paperwork. Mr. Bankman-Fried additionally instructed her that his household was putting in a pickleball court docket for him within the yard.

Mr. Bankman-Fried gave Ms. Fong the paperwork in late January. It was not clear what he anticipated her to do with them. Ms. Fong, who misplaced cash within the collapse of the crypto firm Celsius Community, mentioned she sympathized with FTX’s victims and was skeptical of a lot of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s claims. She despatched one doc to a former Alameda engineer, Aditya Baradwaj, who responded to her with a point-by-point rebuttal to Mr. Bankman-Fried, noting that Alameda’s hedging would have been “irrelevant” if FTX hadn’t misused buyer cash.

Within the draft Twitter thread, Mr. Bankman-Fried traced the expansion of his companies from his childhood in Palo Alto to the penthouse he purchased within the Bahamas close to FTX’s headquarters. He recalled assembly Mr. Trabucco at a math camp, the place his future colleague sneaked out after curfew to bake cheesecake brownies, and he described his early admiration for Ms. Ellison, calling her “depraved good.” He additionally inserted some private images, together with one which reveals him holding a shirt that Mr. Trabucco had purchased him in highschool.

A picture of Mr. Bankman-Fried from highschool that he included with a handful of non-public images from his youth within the draft of an unpublished Twitter thread.

In one other part, Mr. Bankman-Fried posted a hyperlink to a doc he wrote in 2019, “Tonight We Are Younger,” an account of a convention in Taiwan the place he interacted with Changpeng Zhao, generally known as CZ, the founding father of the Binance crypto change. (He additionally included a hyperlink to the “We Are Younger” music video by Enjoyable.)

“Tonight was an evening about booze and ladies and lasers and loud, booming music, however there was an odd microclimate that appeared to observe me,” Mr. Bankman-Fried wrote. “I walked by CZ a number of extra instances, and every time he broke eye contact together with his eye sweet and embraced me: Individuals had been fascinated about us, rather a lot.”

In November, Mr. Zhao’s posts set off a run on deposits that helped immediate FTX’s implosion. A Binance consultant didn’t reply to a request for remark.

A few of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s paperwork elaborate on arguments that his attorneys have made in court docket. In recordsdata titled “Inception V2,” “Inception V3” and “Inception Proof,” Mr. Bankman-Fried claimed that Sullivan & Cromwell, the legislation agency overseeing FTX’s chapter, constructed the narrative that he misappropriated consumer funds.

“They’ve performed it extremely properly,” he wrote. “Have been it not damaging to only about all the pieces I care about in life, I might tip my cap to them.”

A Sullivan & Cromwell spokesman declined to remark. Prosecutors have argued that Mr. Bankman-Fried’s claims in regards to the agency quantity to “innuendo.”

Throughout a number of paperwork, Mr. Bankman-Fried additionally dissected his historical past with Ms. Ellison, writing that their relationship ended “the identical manner most of my relationships finish.”

“They need extra intimacy and dedication and public visibility than I do,” he wrote within the thread, “and I really feel claustrophobic.”

In one other doc, he mentioned Ms. Ellison had refused to hedge Alameda’s aggressive buying and selling technique, regardless of his urging. At one level, he recalled, he despatched her a message that amounted to “the meanest factor I’ve ever mentioned to her.” (He mentioned he not had a report of the message.)

“If Alameda had hedged, it could have remained solvent and prevented your complete sad story,” he wrote.

His issues about Alameda heightened in spring 2022 as he packed for a visit to Washington, Mr. Bankman-Fried wrote within the Twitter draft. A gaggle of staff together with Ms. Ellison was frantically discussing a attainable deficit within the agency’s accounts. Mr. Bankman-Fried was solely half-engaged, he wrote, however had heard sufficient to understand that the dialog centered on an account labeled fiat@ — the automobile that regulators have mentioned FTX executives used to redirect buyer funds into different initiatives.

“I had heard that identify earlier than, however I’d by no means actually recognized precisely what it was,” he wrote.

When she pleaded responsible, Ms. Ellison mentioned she and Mr. Bankman-Fried had conspired to shore up Alameda’s funds with buyer cash. He has denied misusing the funds.

“As a basic matter, I don’t lie,” he wrote in a doc titled “Reality.” “It’s one thing that I imagine pretty strongly in.”


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