6 Min Read
Over the past few weeks, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has been the most talked about person in crypto. The disgraced former CEO has the collapse of the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world — FTX — hanging over his head. The failure of FTX has left millions of creditors in the lurch and the already reeling crypto market under immense pressure.
During the entire debacle, SBF was active on Twitter but refrained from any interviews or public appearances. However, that quickly changed over the last couple of days, with an audio interview with cryptocurrency vlogger, Tiffany Fong, coming to the fore on November 29.
SBF then followed that up with a virtual appearance at the NY Times' annual DealBook summit in New York last night, where he answered several questions from Andrew Ross Sorkin, a prominent financial columnist and a co-anchor of CNBC's Squawk Box. Here are some key takeaways from both these interviews and Twitter's reaction to SBF's comments during the same.
Why he allowed withdrawals only in the Bahamas
Another thing that puzzled investors was SBF's move to reopen withdrawals only for customers in the Bahamas. Users elsewhere wondered what they had done wrong for their funds to stay locked while investors from the tiny island nation were being made whole.
In the interview given to Fong on November 16, which was released on November 29, SBF stated that fear forced him to unlock Bahamian holdings. "The reason I did it was it was critical to the exchange being able to have a future because that's where I am right now, and you do not want to be in a country with a lot of angry people in it, and you do not want your company to be incorporated in a country with a lot of angry people in it," he said.
"So, realistically speaking, it's shitty, but
The hack on FTX and secret backdoor to exchange funds
In the interview with Fong, SBF also spoke about the $450 million hack conducted right after the exchange filed for bankruptcy. The timing of the attack led many to believe that SBF himself was behind the loot and that he had coded some sort of backdoor that allowed him to syphon the funds.
However, when asked about the hack and his alleged involvement, Bankman-Fried was startled and stated that he did not even have the proper coding skills to conduct a hack of such magnitude. He also added that the source code for FTX was never opened to anyone.
"That I can tell you is definitely not true. I don't even know how to code.
SBF is also trying to find the perpetrator, who he believes is a company insider or an associate. He even mentioned that he had narrowed his suspect list to eight individuals and had a decent idea about who it might be.
Whether FTX customers will get their money back
In the audio interview with Fong, SBF makes some very bold promises on fund recovery. "If nothing happens, if I can never do anything again... FTX users will get a dollar on the dollar, FTX will get 25 cents on the dollar," SBF said, according to a Coingape article.
However, just before the FTX collapse, SBF also said that company assets were fine and that FTT, the native token of FTX, was doing well and that there was nothing to worry about. Therefore, his promises might not be something customers will pin their hopes on.
"I don't have any hidden funds here — everything I have, I'm disclosing. I think I have one working credit card left, it might be $100,000 or something like that in that bank account. Everything I had, even all the loans I had, those were things I was reinvesting. I put everything I had in FTX," SBF said during his live appearance at the DealBook summit.
Since most of his assets were locked in with FTX, he has lost almost everything. From a prince sitting on the throne of a $34 billion empire to a pauper living in the Bahamas — how the mighty have fallen.
SBF's comments are met with severe vitriol
Between the two interviews, SBF sure had a lot to say. However, his comments sparked controversy on crypto Twitter, with disgruntled customers shocked at how freely he was living life, even after having one of the worst crashes in crypto history on his hands.
"SBF should be sitting in jail right now, but instead, he is giving an interview on the New York Times Dealbook summit," one Twitter user said.
Others questioned his apparent lack of knowledge as an explanation for the misuse of customer funds. "#SBF allegedly one of the brightest people in the world. His defence? I didn't understand the risk," said Tony Battista, veteran trader and host of the finance talk show, TastyTrade.
One user even questioned the audience, who laughed at SBF's jokes and applauded his presence at the DealBook Summit. "THE CROWD ERUPTED IN APPLAUSE AS INTERVIEWER THANKS SAM BANKMAN FRIED FOR COMING ON... uhhhhhhh wut? This man is a psychopath criminal who just lied for an hr straight," said another Twitter user.
There is no doubt that Sam Bankman-Fried is facing one of the most challenging phases of his life. However, he is getting very little pity, if any at all, from vloggers, users, and authorities. His actions have shocked millions of users, some of whom have lost their entire life savings. Therefore, SBF's recent interviews will do little to improve his public image and reputation.
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