The fall of FTX seemingly had the biggest impact on the crypto ecosystem as Google searches for the CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) hit the roof over in November 2022. Some of the biggest drivers for this trend include mainstream media attention, colossal losses and political ties.
On Nov. 2, SBF lost his credibility after his company Alameda Research was found holding a large amount of FTX Token (FTT), an asset issued by FTX. Over the following two weeks, the crypto community investigated and found SBF guilty of manipulating and misappropriating users’ funds, ultimately leading to the fall of the empire of roughly 130 companies built by SBF.
On the one hand, the crypto community openly criticized SBF and his accomplices, including Caroline Ellison. But, on the other hand, mainstream media published puff pieces to water down SBF’s wrongdoings, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, among others, called out.
The blatant attempts by the mainstream media to change the narrative around SBF saw massive resistance from Crypto Twitter, further fueling the curiosity and forcing the general public to do their own research (DYOR) about the subject.
As a result, Google searches for the term “Sam Bankman-Fried” surged in November. The curiosity around SBF overpowered the other infamous personalities in the space, including co-founder and CEO of Terraform Labs Do Kwon, co-founder and CEO of Three Arrows Capital Su Zhu and Satoshi Nakamoto impersonator Craig Wright.
Google Trends data shows that searches for SBF are 185.7% more than they were for Do Kwon when Terra collapsed in May 2022. The collapse of Terra was considered the biggest blunder in crypto history until SBF took the spot six months later.
The FTX dust is far from settling as Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board, MASAK, seized SBF’s assets amid ongoing investigations.
The seizure was made after finding “criminal suspicion” of FTX failing to safely store user funds, embezzlement of customer assets and market manipulation.