The former CEO of FTX, Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried, has seemingly begun to embark on an apology tour to redeem his image a month after the sudden implosion of FTX, which revealed that the exchange had been improperly using customer and investor funds.
On Nov. 30, Bankman-Fried made his first live public appearance since the collapse of FTX — answering a number of questions during the DealBook Summit in New York. During the interview, Bankman-Fried claimed to have “unknowingly commingled funds” between Alameda and customer funds at FTX. He shared:
“I unknowingly commingled funds. [...] I was frankly surprised by how big Alameda’s position was, which points to another failure of oversight on my part and failure to appoint someone to be chiefly in charge of that.”
In another interview with Good Morning America that aired on Dec. 1, Bankman-Fried denied any knowledge of the “improper use” of customer funds. According to him, he had no knowledge of FTX customer deposits being used to pay Alameda Research’s creditors, as claimed by former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison.
In a Twitter Space hosted on Dec. 1 with IBC Group founder and CEO Mario Nawfal, SBF once again pleaded ignorance about what was occurring with his companies. When asked about what actually happened, his responses were very vague. “I, you know, basically, and I should caveat this by saying that I, unfortunately, don’t have access to most of the data right now,” he said.
Following SBF’s denial and media apology tour, the crypto community has taken to social media to express their sentiments about it all.
Mary Katharine Ham, a CNN contributor, shared that she thought the media had been more hostile to Elon Musk than to the “supervillain” SBF, who lost billions of dollars of “people’s life savings.” “The tone is pretty astonishing,” she said in reaction to SBF’s Good Morning America interview with George Stephanopoulos.
In reaction to the NYT’s DealBook Summit interview, Lefteris Karapetsas shared: “A man who stole $10B, @SBF_FTX just got interviewed, portrayed almost as a victim and got an applause at the end. Still free and fine. Aaron Swartz, who downloaded academic journals to share with the world got $1m in fines and 35 yrs in prison. This lead him to take his own life.”
Bitcoin (BTC) enthusiast Duo Nine also reacted to NYT’s DealBook Summit Interview, saying, “Imagine receiving a round of applause for creating a 10 billion dollar ponzi. The world has lost touch with reality.“
Twitter user Wall Street Silver shared; “SBF: ’I expect I'm gonna have nothing at the end of this.’ I have no doubt that he has $100+ million tucked away somewhere. He was 'borrowing' billions for his personal investments. He has many offshore holding corps. Some of which are NOT in bankruptcy.”
Twitter user and developer Naomi compared SBF’s interview to that of accused child murderer Casey Anthony. She shared, “Watching SBF’s interview is kind of like watching Casey Anthony’s documentary. They’re so mechanical, they’re so inauthentic in their delivery. If you feel any emotion, at all, it slows people down. The way it is expressed is a separate subjective matter.”
Following SBF’s recent public appearances, Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz unleashed a tirade of criticism toward the former CEO over his DealBook Summit interview.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Novogratz characterized SBF as “delusional” following his declaration in the live interview that he never tried to commit fraud.
Novogratz also echoed sentiments from many members of the crypto community in calling for jail time, saying:
“The reality is that Sam and his cohorts perpetuated a fraud. He stole money from people, people should go to jail.”
Galaxy Digital is among the victims of the FTX collapse, having disclosed a $76.8 million exposure to the bankrupt firm.