Who is Sam Bankman-Fried, the former FTX CEO who lost billions in crypto?

Sam Bankman-Fried, or SBF as he is known, is making headlines due to the liquidity crunch his crypto exchange FTX has been facing and the billions of dollars he is suddenly lost. The company said on Friday that he filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy and that Bankman-Fried resigned as chief executive.

As a 30 year old entrepreneur tweeted Thursday morning: “I screwed up, and I should have done better.”

Also see: The $26 Billion Rise and Fall of FTX Crypto King Sam Bankman-Fried

But who is the man behind the headlines? Here are some details to know…

He is a California native who grew up in a college environment.

SBF was born and raised in the Golden State, according to a 2021 Yahoo! News profile. He grew up in an academic environment, with parents who were law professors at Stanford University. And this context seemed to affect his thinking. His mother, Barbara Fried, told Yahoo! that when his son started reading philosopher Derek Parfit at age 14, he took Parfit to task. “Sam was mad at Parfit for being wrong, but more mad at Parfit for how cheap his argument was,” she said.

But he wasn’t at school

His mother said that one day when he was in seventh or eighth grade, she noticed him crying because of his school situation. “And he said to me: ‘Mom, I’m so bored that I’m going to die'”, she recalls. SBF also mentioned the problems he faced in the classroom, complaining about too much structure.

He landed in a top university

SBF went to MIT from 2010 to 2014, majoring in physics and minoring in math. But he still found the experience unsatisfying. “Nothing I learned in college ended up being useful other than, like, social development… Academically, though, it’s all fucking useless… School isn’t just not useful for most jobs… Everyone knows it’s true… Some people kind of don’t really want to say it’s true, but it is,” he said at Yahoo!

Eventually he made his way into the financial world

While at MIT, he interned at leading firm Jane Street Capital. And after college, he worked there full time. But in 2017, he went off on his own, launching Alameda Research, a commercial company. Then, he founded FTX in 2019. His wealth grew exponentially in the process, reaching $26 billion at one point, according to reports.

What was one of his first big trading moves?

SBF found a way to take advantage of the gap between US and Japanese bitcoin prices (Japanese was lower). As New York Magazine Explainedhe “cobbled together a chain of middlemen, including obscure banks in rural Japan, to take advantage of the month-long price gap. They moved up to $25 million a day. SBF got it called “the craziest trade I’ve ever seen”.

He has a lot of celebrity connections

FTX had celebrities take stakes in the company and/or serve as global ambassadors. Among them: football legend Tom Brady and his model ex-wife Gisele Bündchen, tennis star Naomi Osaka and basketball great Stephen Curry.

He tried to make his mark politically

SBF paid more than $5 million to Joe Biden and groups that support him during his 2020 presidential campaign. He said he was motivated by Biden’s “generic stability and decision-making process.” His charity work fits in with his belief in what is called “effective altruism” – the idea of ​​earning a lot of money so that it can be given in the service of others.

He loves his Oreos

SBF is vegan. “It’s all for animal welfare,” he said. the CoinDesk website. And he has a thing for Oreo cookies, which he called “one of nature’s most surprising vegan foods.”

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