‘Considerably Thinner’ SBF Reflects on FTX, Sees $80B Empire if He had Remained at the Helm

May 10, 2024

Sam Bankman-Fried, the controversial crypto tycoon recently convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for fraud, has expressed deep regret regarding several of his decisions.

One of his major regrets is stepping down from his position as the leader of the crypto giant FTX. He said had he remained at the helm, FTX could have evolved into a flourishing company with a valuation of $80 billion.

Facilitated by William Cohan of Puck News and arranged by his mother, Barbara Fried, an American lawyer and professor emeritus at Stanford Law School, this exclusive conversation provided a rare glimpse into Bankman-Fried’s thoughts and emotions during this tumultuous period.

Described as “considerably thinner” and exhibiting a demeanor that was “less manic, less fidgety” by Cohan, Bankman-Fried maintained a strong presence and unwavering eye contact throughout the interview. He candidly expressed his regrets, particularly regarding his decision to step down as the leader of crypto giant FTX, saying had he remained at the helm it could have altered the company’s trajectory toward a staggering $80 billion valuation.

During the interview, Bankman-Fried reflected on his conviction, expressing a belief that he was unfairly targeted as the “fall guy” for FTX’s collapse. He admitted to errors in judgment that left the company vulnerable to external pressures but emphasized that these missteps were civil rather than criminal in nature.

Despite the legal battles and public scrutiny, Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence, asserting that he did not commit any crimes and lamenting a lack of opportunity to negotiate with prosecutors adequately.

Furthermore, Bankman-Fried pointed fingers at the lawyers who assumed control of FTX after his departure, attributing the exchange’s downfall to their management. He expressed regret over not being able to prevent this collapse, and his legal team’s disapproval of certain decisions, such as appointing Caroline Ellison as head of Alameda Research, saying, he should have tried harder to find someone for that position.

The co-founder of FTX has requested to remain at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) until he files his appeal in July. According to a recent report, he engages in discussions with his new lawyer “nearly every weekday for an hour or so.” Additionally, his approved prescription medication has helped him maintain clarity of thought during this challenging period.

In April, Sam Bankman-Fried filed an appeal challenging the court’s earlier imposition of a 25-year sentence. Beyond the legal proceedings, his requests extend beyond the courtroom, emphasizing the need for a specific placement in a California jail. This strategic choice is intended to maintain proximity to his family during the appeal process.

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