At The Sam Bankman-Fried Trial, It’s Clear FTX’s Collapse Was No Accident

SBF’s top lieutenant and ex-girlfriend testified that criminality, not carelessness, destroyed billions in value. So why is a different narrative circulating?

Alex Kantrowitz

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Recently, I went down to the Manhattan courthouse where the U.S. is prosecuting former FTX CEO Sam-Bankman Fried and left astonished. I watched as Caroline Ellison, SBF’s former top lieutenant and ex-girlfriend, calmly demolished any doubt (in my mind, at least) that the collapse was a mistake. Listening to Ellison, it became clear that the company’s executives were aware that they were gambling with billions of dollars in customer money. At a certain point, I wondered why the mainstream narrative allows for the possibility it was a simple oversight.

I cover my visit in this week’s Big Story (below), but I also spoke about SBF trial with crypto researcher Molly White. Molly’s been following the case extremely closely and joined me on Big Technology Podcast to discuss what’s unfolding, how to think about it, and how this episode will reverberate across the tech world.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your podcast app of choice.

And now, this week’s Big Story:

I’m back at my desk after spending two days in court at the Sam Bankman-Fried trial. The downtown Manhattan courthouse is just a few stops away on the subway, and I figured I’d stop by to see Caroline Ellison, Alameda Research’s ex-CEO and Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend, testify about his alleged crimes. It was more revelatory than expected.

Bankman-Fried’s empire — which spanned FTX and Alameda — lost billions of customer money without dispute, but there’s a narrative that his simple carelessness might’ve been at fault. It was a whoopsie, you could say, from a guy with good intentions. High-profile writers, including Michael Lewis seemed to buy the theory, and Bankman-Fried’s lawyers…

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Alex Kantrowitz

Veteran journalist covering Big Tech and society. Subscribe to my newsletter here: https://bigtechnology.substack.com.