Sam Bankman-Fried Still Claims He’s Innocent From Prison

Sam Bankman-Fried shares his experiences in an exclusive prison interview, defending his role in the FTX collapse.

Sam Bankman Fried sitting on top of a pile of rice in a prison cell looking at a Bahamas travel poster.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin
  • SBF was convicted of multiple fraud charges and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
  • Shares a dormitory with 35 other inmates and subsists on rice and beans.
  • Plans to appeal his conviction, asserting his innocence.

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the former CEO of FTX, became one of crypto’s most influential players. At the height of his career, he managed one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, wielding considerable influence and capital. 

However, the collapse of FTX in 2022 led to his arrest and subsequent conviction on multiple charges of fraud, resulting in a 25-year prison sentence. In a recent interview from prison, SBF shed light on his life in prison, his ongoing legal battle, and the events that led to FTX’s downfall.

SBF Subsists on Prison Rice and Beans, Plays Videogames

Currently detained at MDC Brooklyn where he serves his prison sentence, SBF shares a dormitory with 35 other inmates and survives primarily on rice and beans from the prison commissary. He has adjusted to prison life by watching movies, playing video games, and avoiding the prison’s poor-quality vegan entrees. 

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While Sam Bankman-Fried claims to be managing well in prison, he acknowledges the difficulties of life at the Metropolitan Detention Center. The prison’s dormitory-style setup leaves little privacy, with prisoners often bartering for commodities like rice. 

Although he has regular access to his prescription medications and legal team, he remains unsure about his long-term placement. His family and legal advisors are concerned about his potential transfer to a federal penitentiary, which could subject him to a months-long journey across the U.S. on a prison bus.

SBF Still Believes He Could Have Saved FTX

In the 75-minute prison interview, SBF reiterated that he didn’t commit any crimes, blaming FTX’s bankruptcy on a combination of market conditions and poor legal advice. 

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He argued that the primary reason for the collapse was a liquidity crunch exacerbated by a bank run and the actions of competitors. He also said that he still believes that the company could have avoided bankruptcy if he was still in control. 

SBF also acknowledged mistakes in the management of Alameda Research. He claimed that he asked Caroline Ellison to lead Alameda after pressure from lawyers, who warned him about conflicts of interest in leading the two firms. For that reason, he regretted not finding a different executive for the role but maintained that he didn’t knowingly engage in fraudulent activities.

SBF Still Plans to Appeal His Sentence

The former FTX CEO still believes he can challenge the sentence, which he argues was based on incomplete information and a rushed bankruptcy filing. He believes that Sullivan & Cromwell, FTX’s outside counsel, had undue influence over the proceedings and led prosecutors to target him unfairly. His conviction is currently under appeal, with his legal team preparing to file their brief in the coming months.

Bankman-Fried was arrested on December 12, 2022, in the Bahamas and extradited to the United States to face charges of wire fraud, conspiracy, and other financial crimes. Following a highly publicized trial, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison in March 2024, after being found guilty of siphoning off customer funds to his trading firm, Alameda Research.

On the Flipside

  • FTX is currently auctioning off its assets to repay creditors and users of the platform. This includes billions in Solana tokens, of which FTX was a major investor. 
  • Following the FTX collapse, SBF became one of the most hated people in crypto. His actions also resulted in regulatory pressures on the industry across the globe, as governments hastened to prevent a repeat of the collapse. 

Why This Matters

The SBF trial was the biggest legal case in crypto history, while the FTX collapse affected thousands of users, who lost millions of dollars. 

Read more about SBF’s plans to appeal his sentence: 
SBF Plans to Appeal 25-Year Sentence, Citing “Crucial Evidence”

Read more about the FTX’s ongoing impact on Solana: 
Solana Drops on FTX Liquidation, Open Interest Drops

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
David Marsanic

David Marsanic is a journalist for DailyCoin who covers the intersection of crypto, traditional finance, and government. He focuses on institutionalized crypto entities like major cryptocurrency exchanges and Solana, breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand writing. David's prior experience as a business journalist at various crypto and traditional news sites has enabled him to maintain a critical approach to news while adhering to high journalistic integrity standards.