Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has been talking a lot more since his exchange collapsed a few weeks ago, as he’s spoken at the New York Times Dealbook Summit, sat down with Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos, and recently conducted an interview with New York Magazine. While doing all of these interviews, SBF has revealed very little and crypto supporters believe SBF is being portrayed as the “boy next door” who simply made a bad mistake, and people are wondering why the FTX co-founder is being treated so delicately.
Crypto Community Believes SBF’s Media Tour Is Simply Meant to ‘Clean up His Image,’ Portray Him as the ‘Boy Next Door’ Who Made a Mistake
While Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has talked to the New York Times contributor Andrew Ross Sorkin, Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos, and New York Magazine’s Jen Wieczner, the crypto community still has a lot of unanswered questions. For instance, during his Dealbook conversation, SBF insisted he “didn’t knowingly co-mingle funds.” SBF apologized to an audience question when they asked why SBF decided to steal their life savings. “I’m deeply sorry about what happened,” SBF explained at the Dealbook event.
Watch Mainstream Media closely and you’ll see who’s been paid off to make sure that #SBF has a super clean image.
— David Gokhshtein (@davidgokhshtein) November 23, 2022
After all of SBF’s interviews, the crypto community hasn’t seemed satisfied with the former FTX executive’s answers, and people have wondered why he’s being treated like “the boy next door.” Posts on social media show people are disappointed that SBF received a round of applause after the Dealbook event.
SBF: on Good Morning America: “I did not know that there is any improper, huh, use of customer funds.”
Better be seen as a clueless, ineffective CEO for the rest of your life than risking prison, amirite?
— Max Boonen (@maxboonen) December 1, 2022
“A few months ago, a Bahamian man was sentenced to 2 years in prison for stealing $6 worth of hotdogs,” one individual tweeted. “SBF is a con man who stole billions of dollars from millions of customers in a historical fraud. He is currently on a corporate media tour, receiving sympathy, praise, [and] applause.”
A man who stole $10B, @SBF_FTX just got interviewed, portrayed almost as a victim and got an applause at the end
Still free and fine.
Aaron Swartz, who downloaded academic journals to share with the world got $1m in fines and 35 yrs in prison. This lead him to take his own life
— Lefteris Karapetsas | Hiring for @rotkiapp (@LefterisJP) November 30, 2022
So far, SBF has blamed his misfortunes on “poorly-labeled accounting” practices, and the fact that he doesn’t know how to code. While he stressed that he “didn’t knowingly co-mingle funds,” people familiar with the matter said SBF “lent billions of dollars worth of customer assets to fund risky bets” using his quantitative trading firm Alameda Research.
Other reports note that Alameda Research bought a relatively unknown over-the-counter (OTC) desk “to handle FTX banking.” Speaking with New York Magazine, SBF was asked what happened to the $10 billion in customer assets that were seemingly lost.
It’s really true that SBF is doing media rounds to great applause. I thought the Hunger Games was implausible fiction. And yet here we are.
— Jeffrey A Tucker (@jeffreyatucker) December 1, 2022
“We should have had way better accounting in place,” SBF replied during his interview with Jen Wieczner. “We should have had way better controls in place.” He also detailed that accounting mistakes were made at a time back “when FTX didn’t have bank accounts.” He noted that Alameda had a sizable margin position, and one that “was not going to be closable in a liquid way in order to make good on its obligations.”
Alameda’s margin got huge by the middle of 2022 he said, and it went from a “somewhat risky position” to simply “a position that was way too big to be manageable during a liquidity crisis, and that it would be seriously endangering the ability to deliver customer funds.”
SBF on Good Morning America 12/1/2022 saying he knew funds were being transferred to Alameda pic.twitter.com/uePr8kqxE9
— Yeah Bro Mike (@YeahBroXRP) December 1, 2022
SBF claims Alameda’s bad bets did not involve Terra’s LUNA, but they did occur roughly around the same time frame. As far as the poor accounting that took place, while FTX could not get a bank account, somehow a significant debt position tricked the executive and the “effective position was billions of dollars bigger than it appeared to be.”
Similar to the NYT Dealbook event, SBF said one problem was that Alameda was not under his control, and he had not operated the company in years. Often times in SBF’s interviews, he forgets the fact that FTX, the token FTT, and Alameda Research have only been around since 2019. While speaking with Wieczner SBF said:
The problem was that Alameda had gotten leveraged. And Alameda is not, like, a company that I monitor day-to-day. It’s not a company I run. It’s not a company I have run for the last couple [of] years.
SBF told the Dealbook event audience that his firm realized that things were going downhill on Nov. 6, but the former FTX CEO hasn’t explained what happened to the $333 million in BTC that vanished between Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, 2022. SBF has not detailed why customers were repeatedly told their assets would be fine if they did not utilize margin positions, and why Alameda and FTX were so close, despite SBF insisting that they were separate entities.
To this day, there are still many unanswered questions and people believe SBF’s media tour is being leveraged to clean up his image. It seems that saying “sorry” over and over, and over again, is just not cutting the mustard and the crypto community still wants hard answers from the now-disgraced crypto exchange frontman. However, the community doesn’t believe they will get such answers from SBF’s current media tour.