Sam Bankman-Fried Applauded After Surreal Interview

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  • Sam Bankman-Fried was applauded by the audience after a virtual interview at the New York Times’s DealBook Summit
  • Bankman-Fried repeated that he “made a mistake” but shifted the blame onto others and failed to explain what truly went on
  • The former CEO looked extremely uncomfortable throughout

One element of the FTX saga that has been the most glaring is the way that the disgraced founder and former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, has been treated by the mainstream media. Bankman-Fried has been treated as a well intentioned child who lost his way, when in fact he was complicit in manipulating, and losing, billions of dollars in user funds. In an interview last night with Andrew Sorkin, which had been in the works for some time, Bankman-Fried laid the blame of FTX’s implosion on poor oversight and client losses, but denied he had knowingly committed fraud. At the end of the interview, Bankman-Fried was even applauded by the audience.

Bankman-Fried’s Easy Ride Has Riled up the Crypto Community

Bankman-Fried has been given an incredibly soft ride by the mainstream media press, with his ‘effective altruism’ plans, which never panned out, seemingly leaving a lasting impression with them, allowing them to paint him as a well-intentioned boy who made a mistake, rather than an incompetent criminal who, according to the new CEO of the company who has labeled what he found “worse than Enron”, suggesting that fraud very definitely took place.

Speaking at the DealBook Summit on Wednesday, Bankman-Fried, who seemed uncomfortable throughout the virtual interview, said that he never knowingly commingled funds between Alameda Research and FTX, even though Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang have said in no uncertain terms that he was a part of it.

He also appeared to put some of the billions of dollars in losses down to dashboard browser issues, saying that the web-based dashboard substantially under-displayed Alameda’s financial position.

Clients Were to Blame

Bankman-Fried repeatedly mentioned clients’ margin accounts in the interview as being partially responsible for the collapse, and said the problem at FTX was a lack of risk controls and allowing those margin accounts to grow too large. This was more evidence that he plans to shift the blame of FTX’s failure to clients, rather than Alameda’s bad bets or potentially unlawful shifting of funds.

The interview, as expected, went down very badly with those inside the cryptocurrency space:

As he has done with other interviews, Bankman-Fried failed to take any direct responsibility for the collapse, a legally sensible move, instead sticking to the line of ‘I made a mistake’, which is a very mild way of putting it. Incredibly, when Sorkin signed off the interview, many in the audience applauded Bankman-Fried:

However, incredibly, there were some prominent individuals who still had faith in him:

Bankman-Fried was advised against his lawyers to do the interview, and his reasoning for going ahead with it is part of the reason why he has been able to hoodwink so many people – he said he felt that it was his “duty” to explain what happened, even though, in reality, he didn’t.