Sam Bankman-Fried once stood atop the cryptocurrency world and now he is facing a lengthy jail sentence for fraud charges.
The 30-year-old founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX was once linked to celebrities and the crypto-currency movement was even noticed by politicians, with efforts being made to legitimize it as something other than a fast money-making scam.
His company was estimated to be worth $32 billion earlier this year, but it all came crashing down in November when the firm declared bankruptcy. This angered regulators, prosecutors, and customers who wanted to know what had happened.
Bankman-Fried is a vegan who gets by on just four hours of sleep every night and wears hoodies and dark t-shirts. He has donated millions of dollars to animal welfare and the fight against neglected tropical diseases.
In accordance with Forbes Magazine, his individual fortune had previously been close to $25 billion.
The son of a Stanford Law School graduate and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Bankman-Fried worked as a Wall Street broker before 2017 when cryptocurrency went mainstream.
He established the cryptocurrency investment trust Alameda Research and later launched FTX in Hong Kong.
Bankman-Fried was known as an advocate for wider access to cryptocurrency markets for the general public, especially in the US.
FTX’s success enabled it to form prestigious partnerships and alliances with famous former football players like Tom Brady and his ex-wife, Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen.
Bankman-Fried relocated the company to the Bahamas, one of the few nations with a complete licensing system for cryptocurrency, where taxes are almost non-existent.
As his star rose, Fortune Magazine asked him if he could be the new Warren Buffet.
Fall From Grace
The FTX collapse happened quickly. In November, CoinDesk had two reports about the ties between FTX and Alameda.
According to the report, Alameda’s balance sheet was largely based on the FTT coin, a token created by