An inkling of doom started to spread throughout Sam Bankman-complicated Fried's crypto empire before the world started to realize the truth about him, leading to fear, investigations, and, eventually, the horrific collapse.
One query arose repeatedly: Where is SBF? Across FTX, the exchange that had elevated his simple initials to the status of a sign of brand-new wealth and power.
Current and former employees claim that Bankman-Fried looked to have vanished. The October payroll was therefore abruptly at risk of being missed by a department. There was a difficulty.
The digital asset empire of John Bankman-Fried, which included more than 130 entities, collapsed on Friday. The scandal has shocked the cryptocurrency players who had ecstatically hailed him as their generation's J.P. Morgan.
Authorities at the federal level are looking into possible customer fund abuse. Will a million FTX customers ever receive a refund? Before everyone else, some traders who felt trouble fled the scene.
Many of the broad strokes are now well-known. Bankman-debt Fried's black hole, muddled business interests, and inquiries regarding whether he misappropriated client funds
In addition to fooling politicians, media figures, and venture capital royalty, he may have also deceived himself along the way. Interviews with current and former FTX employees as well as individuals with firsthand knowledge of the organization present an even more bleak image than was previously thought.
Before his collapse, Bankman-Fried was having problems answering straightforward queries such as, "Where do you live?" He appeared to be referring to his beanbag chair when he stated, "I, so, so, sorry, I - I'm hesitating because I typically sleep on a bag." On a Zoom conversation, Bankman-Fried was answering inquiries from reporters about the distinctions between FTX and Alameda Research, the bitcoin trading business that served as his family office.
According to those aware of the connection, Bankman-Fried allegedly dated Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, 27, on occasion, the cryptocurrency news website CoinDesk reported this week. The connections between FTX and Alameda contributed to Fried's collapse as a banker.
Additionally, it was a trademark of Bankman-Fried.
Bankman-Fried founded Alameda First after leaving quant trading firm Jane Street, where he worked as a trader who peers viewed as smart but unspectacular. FTX was founded in the two years that followed. A person who received funding from Alameda Ventures, its venture capital arm, asserted that they actually received it from FTX.
Following claims that an Alameda financial sheet indicated overdue payments to FTX through its FTT tokens, investors had reason to be cautious by the conclusion of the previous week.
Panic finally broke out when Binance CEO Zhao, also known by his initials CZ, announced on Sunday that his exchange was selling its holdings of FTT, valued at more than $500 million.
Indicators of trouble
Bankman-actions Fried's had been causing alarm among direct reports for weeks, but FTX's issues had only lately come to light. People with knowledge of the matter claim that Bankman-Fried was missing from FTX's top deputies for at least a month.
Several prominent hedge fund traders and market makers have reportedly started withdrawing millions of dollars from FTX, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. Before Binance increased their offer on Tuesday, several investors insisted they were unaware of FTX's issues.
Several investors and employees were so confident in FTX's future, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg, that they refused to sell their shares to potential buyers even as the drama between FTX and Binance first began to unfold.
Hope was gone
Bankman-Fried has come to represent transparency and decentralization, two important concepts in the crypto industry. Others working for the company started to doubt their knowledge of FTX in light of the claims made about his job and Twitter threads, though.
Sam Bankman-Fried has a "cult of personality," according to Molly White, a 29-year-old software engineer and the blogger behind "Web3 is Going Just Great," which for more than a year covered stories of fraud in the world of virtual assets. He was regarded as having a once-in-a-lifetime, visionary intellect.
People with knowledge of the matter claim that Bankman-Fried traveled to the Middle East in late October to meet with Saudi Arabia's national wealth fund and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Co. in an effort to raise money.
Anthony Scaramucci, who in September sold a share of SkyBridge Capital to FTX Ventures, helped fund the money. He said in an interview with CNBC on Friday that because he had purchased 30% of my company, we were trying to help him internationally as good citizens.
A person with knowledge of the case claims that after Bankman-Fried assisted Voyager in avoiding bankruptcy, the business called on investors to repurchase itself. FTX in spite of the companies.
People with insider knowledge of the matter claimed that several of them started ignoring the calls when the US approached and felt it may give cents on the dollar.
Bankman-Fried may have been out of his element when the crypto industry began to falter earlier this year, but he didn't show it. Bankman-Fried, who had previously co-led FTX and Alameda, handed the reins up to Ellison and Sam Trabucco in October 2021. The head of FTX US, Brett Harrison, left shortly after without immediately announcing his destination.
Speaking with investors was therefore pointless unless someone had a billion ready to sign on short notice, he said.
His primary assets, which were estimated to be worth $15.6 billion at the beginning of the week, are now worthless, per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Charities relying on his funding are probably going to be left behind. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said, "I would compare it to Enron.
Ray III, who was chosen to succeed Bankman-Fried as CEO, is an expert in turnaround and restructuring who has held key positions in numerous bankruptcies, including Enron's. The approximately 1 million clients who trusted the curly-haired boy genius to guide them into a new financial frontier will likely be left in limbo for the duration of this time, unsure of when, if ever, they will receive their money back.
Despite everything that has happened, a small number of ardent supporters are still behind Bankman-Fried.
Users on Polymarket, a cryptocurrency betting site for sporting event results, are placing bets on the scenario of "Will SBF be federally indicted by end of the year?" There is an 80% chance he will avoid being charged.
In Bankman-Fried's US exchange's Miami offices, there seems to be less optimism. The FTX.US office door's small-lettered signage had been taken down by Thursday.