- FTX CEO denies committing fraud
- Says he was not involved in running Alameda Research
- Claims he is down to his “last credit card” and a $100,000 balance
In an interview at The New York Times DealBook Summit, Sam Bankman-Fried once again told his side of the story regarding the FTX collapse.
Joining via videoconference from his Bahamian residence, the FTX founder once again denied allegations that he had mishandled customer funds.
"I didn’t ever try to commit fraud," Bankman-Fried said.
The allegations of fraud and misappropriation of customer funds arose after the now-bankrupt crypto exchange halted customer withdrawals. Liquidity issues arose after its sister trading firm, Alameda Research, saw outsized losses due to a collapse of crypto markets.
Questions immediately arose about whether Alameda Research was using user funds as collateral and making risky bets on behalf of unwitting and unwilling users. Shortly thereafter, FTX and Alameda Research filed for bankruptcy.
Bankman-Fried said that he did not knowingly commingle customer funds in FTX with the trading balance at Alameda Research, of which he is the majority owner.
The former billionaire claimed that he did not know how big of a position Alameda Research had with FTX. “I was worried about the conflict of interest, of being too involved,” he insisted.
"I hadn’t been running Alameda, or thinking about its finances, or making those decisions," he said.
However, he did acknowledge that he “didn’t do a good job” at oversight of his company.
Bankman-Fried also retold how he saw the collapse of FTX unfold. “By late November 6, I’m very nervous that things might end quite badly,” he claimed. That was when Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced that he would start selling its holdings of FTX’s FTT tokens. By November 11, FTX had filed for bankruptcy.
Bankman-Fried also reiterated his view that FTX US was “completely solvent” and that its customers could be made whole “today.”
‘Down to $100,000’
Bankman-Fried said that he lost nearly all of his personal wealth in the wake of the collapse. He said that he had “one working credit card” and “$100,000 in my bank account last I checked.”
"I've had a bad month," he said. "This has not been any fun for me. But that's not what matters here. What matters here is the millions of customers, what matters here is the stakeholders in FTX. And what matters is trying to help them out."
On the Flipside
- Sam Bankman-Fried has a clear incentive to try to present himself in as positive a light as possible.
Why You Should Care
The FTX collapse rocked the crypto industry, and many companies are still experiencing the fallout.
Read about how the Bahaman authorities are addressing the FTX collapse:
Criminal Investigation into FTX is underway: Bahamas Attorney General
Read more details about the collapse of FTX:
FTX Latest: SBF’s Fallen Crypto Empire Holds $1.24B in Cash Reserves