He is nicknamed the Mozart of cryptocurrencies. After a rapid rise, Sam Bankman-Fried is prosecuted for fraud. His trial opens Tuesday, October 3 in New York.
“One of the largest financial fraud cases in US history”this is how the American justice system presents the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the cryptocurrency platform FTX, valued at $40 billion and declared bankrupt in November 2022.
This is the kind of trajectory that America loves. A prodigy from the very renowned MIT, the Mecca of global technological research, who manages to amass, in record time, a colossal fortune estimated at 25 billion euros. And an equally spectacular fall that could land Sam Bankman Fried (SBF), aged 31, behind bars for the rest of his days.
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A genius celebrated by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton
A journey so radical that the state of grace lasts only a very short moment. In the Bahamas, during a four-day conference, organized in April 2022, on the podium alongside the man nicknamed the Mozart of cryptocurrencies, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and a whole constellation of artists follow one another. Everyone celebrates the genius of SBF, founder of FTX, the essential hub for crypto exchanges. 80% of FTX funds come from a 1st company Alameda Research, a company speculating on the difference in prices of digital assets around the world. There is therefore the genius of accelerating the multiplication of profits on this virtual currency market. And there is the disruptive side of the young Californian who says he wants to use this money to redistribute it.
A “crypto-philanthropy” that Sam Bankman-Fried’s biographer, Michael Lewis, perfectly sums up. “In Sam’s words, the idea is that you can make a career in a field that you find useful, become a doctor in Africa. Or you can make as much money as possible and pay 40 people to become doctors in Africa and you will save 40 times more lives”, explains the biographer. Except that there is no record of such an investment with FTX profits. On the other hand, we find four billion euros diverted for the benefit of Alameda Research, his first company. And an additional eight billion, evaporated from FTX’s accounts and which Sam Bankman Fried is incapable of justifying. “I definitely made a lot of mistakes. Mistakes that I wouldn’t make again today, but I never intentionally cheated. But there are things I would think differently about today.”explain SBF.
His former collaborators plead guilty
At the helm, facing SBF, are a large number of his former associates. His colleagues, with whom he lived and enjoyed vegan burgers in a 30 million euro villa in the Bahamas, agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. Everyone, including his former girlfriend Caroline Ellison, to whom he handed over the keys to his first company: Alameda Research. SBF today accuses his ex-girlfriend of mismanagement. Get the popcorn ready: the San Bankman-Fried trial soap opera will excite America.
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