FTX story: Rise and fall of Bankman-Fried

Within a week, anything might happen unexpectedly, and the world could be turned upside down. FTX is the perfect example of an unexpected turn.

Last Tuesday, Sam Bankman-Fried, a 30-year-old man with a mop of brown hairs and enough clout to go by his initials SBF, was a member of the political elite. According to estimates, he owned a cryptocurrency exchange named FTX, a trading company called Alameda Research, and $15.6 billion.

In just four years, he had become one of the most well-known figures in the cryptocurrency industry. Now he is aiming for the mainstream financial sector. But, unfortunately, he now only has his initials and $1 billion left.

The demise of Bankman-fortune Fried’s has been anticipated for weeks. This year, there have been rumors that FTX was on “shaky financial foundations” amid wider market instabilities.

The FTX exchange of Sam Bankman-rise Fried’s and fall has already significantly affected the sector. Regulators and politicians are likely to become aware of the collapse of the exchange Bankman-Fried created. This is because he is one of the most potent political dealers in the cryptocurrency space.

It is notable that Binance, its biggest opponent and first backer, may or may not purchase FTX. However, Binance has recently taken significant steps to increase transparency. Unfortunately, it also serves as a metaphor for cryptocurrency’s apparent intransigence.

For instance, nobody is aware of Changpeng Zhao’s net worth or the exact location of Binance. 

If this prolonged crisis has taught us anything, it’s the need for transparency. Yet, ironically, Bankman-Fried has pushed for lessening financial privacy and obscure licensing structures for cryptocurrencies. This is because SBF’s Alameda Research and FTX were linked in risky, unsustainable ways that the world is just now starting to comprehend.

FTX turned upside down

Just six months ago, he attracted CEOs, celebrities, and the world leaders like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair to a conference he sponsored in the Bahamas, where he resides as one of the most prominent proponents of the blockchain’s potential.

On Sunday, after a traditional bank run that exposed the flaws in the innovative financial system, Bankman-Fried had championed. Instead, his crypto empire came tumbling down.

According to sources, Bankman- Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, went from having a value of $32 billion to being completely worthless almost immediately. Leaving a large number of investors racing to get their money returned. Also launching investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and the Department of Justice in the United States.

The 30-year-old Bankman-Fried addressed his clients on Twitter on Thursday.

He wrote, “I fucked up and should have done better.”

In less than five years, Bankman-Fried built a personal fortune that, at its peak. He was believed to be worth more than $26 billion, placing him among the world’s wealthiest individuals.

His youthful, schlubby appearance—ill-fitting t-shirts, gym shorts, and a mop of curly hair. It made him appear more like a college student ripping a bong in a frat house than a finance expert. But it was this anti-establishment attitude that attracted crypto fans.

Bankman-Fried, a Stanford University law professor’s son, was a prodigy from a young age. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study mathematics and physics.

FTX was established in 2019

Bankman-Fried first became interested in the idea of effective altruism while working as an ETF trader for Jane Street Capital, a renowned Wall Street. The firm was known for hiring brilliant quantitative traders. Effective altruism is a philosophy that emphasizes using logic and data to find solutions that benefit as many people as possible. He established the quantitative trading company Alameda Research, which specializes in digital currencies, in 2017.

He started making a fortune over the course of the following year by arbitraging Bitcoin BTCUSD, 10.08%, between exchanges in the U.S. and Japan. Where prices were frequently somewhat higher. Bankman-Fried established the cryptocurrency exchange FTX in 2019.

The timing was fortunate since interest in cryptocurrency skyrocketed the following year as the COVID-19 outbreak spread around the world. As FTX gained popularity, big-name celebrities like Tom Brady and Steph Curry became partners and endorsers.

Bankman-Fried was immediately feted by some of the largest financial organizations, luring investment from the most significant names on Wall Street. The names included Softbank 9984, -2.65% Group, Sequoia Capital, and Blackrock BLK, 12.48%. Thoma Bravo and Tiger Global Management. Even the legendary billionaire hedge fund managers Israel Englander and Paul Tudor Jones gave him financial support.

Soon, FTX was one of the major companies in the sector.

What crypto looks like

Bankman-Fried kept up the appearance and way of life of a youthful gamer despite his soaring fortune. Then, finally, he relocated to the Bahamas, where it is said that he shared a luxury residence with ten other people.

He frequently played video games during Zoom calls, with League of Legends being his favorite. His bean bag bed, which he kept a few feet from his desk, was frequently mentioned in his profiles of him.

Bankman-Fried stood apart from other cryptocurrency tycoons because he claimed to engage with regulators. He wanted to develop a more strong framework for the budding business and treat it more like a regular finance network.

In order to do so, Bankman-Fried testified before Congress in an effort to explain how the cryptocurrency sector operated to skeptic US politicians. Admittedly, this is not often a popular stance in the crypto world, but he also indicated he welcomed regulation.

FTX believes [government agencies] could play an even more prominent role in the digital-asset ecosystem and bring greater investor protections by closing some regulatory gaps,” he said before a senate panel in February. “FTX believes that such efforts would combine the best aspects of traditional finance and digital-asset innovations.”

Bankman-Fried even used his considerable riches for political purposes by supporting a lot of Democratic candidates. According to campaign forms, he contributed roughly $40 million to political campaigns for the midterm elections this year. It made him one of President Joe Biden’s top single donors in 2020.


As the price of cryptocurrencies fell precipitously this year, leading to the failure of multiple enterprises. Bankman-Fried emerged as a hero, buying up several failing partners and establishing himself as a sort of Robin Hood for the sector.

The collapse in the cryptocurrency market 

Bankman-Fried even used his considerable riches for political purposes by supporting a lot of Democratic candidates. According to campaign forms, he contributed roughly $40 million to political campaigns for the midterm elections this year. It made him one of President Joe Biden’s top single donors in 2020.

As the price of cryptocurrencies fell precipitously this year, leading to the failure of multiple enterprises. Bankman-Fried emerged as a hero, buying up several failing partners and establishing himself as a sort of Robin Hood for the sector.

Due to a “significant liquidity shortage,” Bankman-Fried revealed on Tuesday that FTX and Binance had struck a tentative deal for the exchange to be bought. Markets fell as a result of the unrest, which caused significant falls in some of the most well-known cryptocurrencies and even spilled over into traditional banking.

The confusion grew the next day once it was learned that numerous American agencies were looking at FTX and Bankman-Fried. By the end of the day, Binance announced that it was terminating the agreement since its investigation had shown that “the issues are beyond our control or ability to help.” 

The only thing keeping FTX from potentially imploding appeared to be Binance’s agreement. Bankman-Fried tweeted, “At some point, I might have more to say about a particular sparring partner.” “For now, all I’ll say is: well played; you won.”


Bankman-Fried has been funding risky wagers

Also, on Thursday, it was revealed that Bankman-Fried had been funding risky wagers by his Alameda Research company with some customer deposits, positioning FTX for failure.

According to reports, Bankman-Fried informed investors he required $8 billion or more to close the hole in FTX’s books once the Binance lifeline disappeared and there were few other options.

Bankman-Fried declared on Twitter that he would put all of his efforts into ensuring that depositors got their money back. In an attempt to explain FTX’s demise, he added, “poor internal labeling of bank-related accounts meant that I was substantially off on my sense of users’ margin. I thought it was way lower.”

Bankman-Fried stated: “My #1 priority–by far–is doing right by users,” he wrote. “Right now, we’re spending the week doing everything we can to raise liquidity. I can’t make any promises about that.”

About Bankman-Fried

Bankman-Fried, the son of two Stanford Law professors, was raised in Silicon Valley.

Chess and bridge were among the games he played throughout his youth. “playing games growing up, his inclination is if a board game is fun, you should play two simultaneous games at once with a timer.”

Bankman-Fried started developing his moral compass while in college. He developed a particular interest in effective altruism. A school of thought that makes use of math to determine how best to devote one’s time, money, and resources for the benefit of others.

Bankman-Fried started working for Jane Street, a multinational trading company, after graduating from college. He acquired the skill of arbitrage there, a sort of trading in which dealers purchase an asset at a discount on one market and sell it at a premium on a different market.

 Bankman-Fried donated half of his salary to effective altruism and animal welfare organizations during his three years at Jane Street. Then, he departed to work for William MacAskill, one of the founders of the effective altruism movement, at the MacAskill’s Centre for Effective Altruism.

By 2017, private exchanges were bustling with cryptocurrency trading. Bankman-Fried observed that some coins were selling for more money than others on different markets. He understood he might take advantage of price discrepancies using his expertise in arbitrage.

Bankman-Fried founded his own cryptocurrency trading business, Alameda Research, in Berkeley, California, by the end of 2017. He was skilled in finding methods to move more quickly than other traders, according to his Alameda coworkers, who spoke to Insider.

Alameda was transferring up to $15 million each day between marketplaces at its height. As a result of the waves he was creating in the cryptocurrency business, Bankman-Fried soon acquired the nickname “the Moby Dick of crypto whales.”

About cryptocurrency exchange

A Bahamian cryptocurrency exchange is called FTX. FTX is based in The Bahamas and was incorporated in Antigua and Barbuda. The exchange was established in 2019 and had more than a million users as of February 2022. In addition, FTX runs FTX.US, a different exchange open to citizens of the United States.

In November 2022, it was discovered that FTX’s finances were unstable and connected with Alameda Research, its “sister” company. Next to this information, Binance swiftly announced that it would buy FTX, albeit the deal fell through the following day. The acquisition’s failure, the price of FTT and FTX’s exchange token. Along with a run on the stock all contributed to the company’s impending insolvency.

Blockfolio, a cryptocurrency portfolio tracking tool, was purchased by FTX for $150 million in August 2020. 

In July 2021, FTX raised $900 million from more than 60 investors, including Softbank, Sequoia Capital, and other companies, at a valuation of $18 billion.

 Competitor Binance sold its interests in the company in 2021 after investing there in 2020. [14]

FTX relocated its corporate headquarters from Hong Kong to The Bahamas in September 2021.

FTX announced a $2 billion venture fund called FTX Ventures on January 14, 2022.

 The FTX Ventures website was taken down in November 2022. 

At a $32 billion value, FTX raised $400 million in Series C fundraising in January 2022.

FTX.US declared on February 11, 2022, that it would shortly start providing stock trading to its US clients.

A gaming section that will assist video game makers in incorporating cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other blockchain-related elements into video games is said to be being created by FTX, according to a February 2022 report.

FDIC published a cease-and-desist letter

Following FTX president Brett Harrison’s tweet suggesting otherwise, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) published a cease-and-desist letter accusing FTX of making “false and misleading claims” about FDIC insurance in August 2022. Harrison removed the tweet after receiving the letter, and Bankman-Fried added clarification that the FDIC does not cover FTX in a subsequent tweet.

 Harrison, who has served as FTX.US president since May 2021, was not immediately succeeded by anyone.

According to a report from October 2022, FTX was being looked into in Texas for allegedly marketing unregistered securities.