The former CEO of FTX Trading will soon give his first long public interview with the cryptocurrency exchange. Collapsed spectacular fashion earlier this month.
Sam Bankman-Fried will speak at this year’s New York Times Dealbook Summit in Manhattan on Wednesday night. Bankman-Fried resigned from the company on November 11, the same day FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The 30-year-old is also being investigated in the United States and abroad for possible securities violations.
Wednesday’s hearing will seek a more detailed explanation of the reasons for FTX’s decline. Other questions surrounding Bankman-Fried include its operations since filing for bankruptcy and the status of efforts to raise money to pay FTX clients.
The former CEO has been unusually vocal since his company’s collapse: He told Vox recently that his previous approval of crypto regulation was “just PR,” and this week Axios revealed that his bank account was “down to $100,000.”
The FTX bankruptcy took the crypto and financial world by storm. Days after FTX filed for bankruptcy, court documents revealed the company owed at least $3.1 billion to its top 50 creditors.
FTX’s new Chief Executive John Ray III, who previously oversaw FTX’s bankruptcy, told the court, “Never in my career have I seen such a complete breakdown of corporate control and such a complete absence of reliable financial information.” The document was launched earlier this month. Alvarez & Marsal, the accounting firm that FTX hired to help it through the bankruptcy, said the company “has not historically maintained reliable books and records.”
Bankman-Fried interview new Washington calls for cryptocurrency industry regulation. Ohio Democratic Senator Sherred Brown urged US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen this week to create crypto protection legislation because of what happened with FTX.
“As the bankruptcy filings show, FTX failed to exercise basic corporate controls or risk management over its operations,” Brown, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, wrote in a letter to Yellen on Wednesday. “Furthermore, FTX relied on its own proprietary crypto tokens, resulting in inflated valuations that exacerbated irresponsible risk-taking.”
Bankman-Fried has conducted several media interviews since the FTX bankruptcy. The says Vox Media said on Twitter earlier this month that their earlier displays of support this year for government oversight of the cryptocurrency industry were “PR.” And those regulators “make everything worse.”
Bankman-Fried’s position at Wednesday’s DealBook event is a far cry from his former glory as the founder of a crypto powerhouse.
Bankman-Fried was born in California to two Stanford University professors. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in physics, and then moved to Hong Kong to start Alameda, which later became FTX’s business arm.
After his brief stint in Hong Kong, Bankman-Fried moved to the Bahamas, where he founded FTX in 2019, just as cryptocurrencies began to gain popularity.
After buying a wide range of tokens a few years ago, Bankman-Fried has seen his personal wealth grow. At one point, Bankman-Fried’s personal wealth grew to $26.5 billion, according to Forbes. He became a large political donor, spending $40 million primarily on Democratic candidates and progressive causes. According to the Wall Street Journal.
Widely known as a vegetarian who loves to play League of Legends video games, Bankman-Fried lent millions of dollars to struggling crypto companies before the collapse of FTX, earning him the nickname “Crypto Savior”.
Christopher J. Brooks is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch who covers business, consumer and financial stories ranging from economic inequality and housing issues to bankruptcy and sports business.