Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX who stands accused of pilfering users’ funds into a separate operation without their approval told a cryptocurrency vlogger that he doesn’t even know how to code.
Sam Bankman-Fried goes by the name “SBF” in online circles.
FTX filed for bankruptcy after users discovered that the company siphoned users’ money into a sister company Alameda Research, which was run by Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison to make investments. The enterprise imploded during FTX’s attempt to be bought out by Binance, which discovered that the cryptocurrency token FTX was minting was essentially worthless and used to prop itself up.
Speaking to crypto vlogger Tiffany Fong, a little-known YouTuber with only 13,000 subscribers, Bankman-Fried was pressed on his company’s implosion.
Asked about the backdoor that enabled him to move funds from FTX to Alameda Research without triggering red flags and alerting investors, Bankman-Fried denied that he programmed any such thing.
“That I can tell you is definitely not true,” he insisted. “I don’t even know how to code.”
“I literally never even opened the code for any of FTX,” said Bankman-Fried, who graduated from MIT.
His denial stands in stark contrast to his reputation as a cryptocurrency demigod and genius coder. Michael Grimes, an investment banker who tried to pitch Bankman-Fried to Elon Musk during Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, told Musk that Bankman-Fried built FTX “from scratch” and called him an “Ultra Genius.”
During the interview, Bankman-Fried said he regretted filing his company for bankruptcy because FTX US remained solvent even though FTX, which is headquartered in the Bahamas, ran into financial problems.
“I was sort of coerced into doing it, but I should have just said no. I had that right,” he said, claiming that American users would be getting their money back. “I would give anything to un-file that right now.”
It is unlikely that anyone who stored assets in FTX or invested in the company will seeing much of anything in return even after the dust settles.
Coverage of Sam Bankman-Fried has been largely muted, with numerous media outlets downplaying the scandal — often reminding people that the crypto wunderkind only had the best intentions to promote liberal democracy.
Sam Bankman-Fried was the number two leading donor of Democrat causes in the United States in the recent elections, behind George Soros. He has also dedicated a significant portion of his philanthropic efforts to news publications, including the newly launched Semafor -- a fact that did not escape the notice of Twitter chief Elon Musk.
Other outlets include ProPublica, Vox, and The Intercept, all of which are left-wing outlets.