SBF’s Crypto Empire Receives Accolades After Ian Allison’s Scoop in 2023


It was November 2nd, 2023 when I heard the news that the jury had reached a verdict on Sam Bankman-Fried’s case. I went downstairs to get a drink, feeling like my body was floating a few inches off the ground, and told my wife what was happening. I rushed back upstairs and read the verdict – Bankman-Fried was found guilty.

This verdict was the climax of a year-long story that started back in November 2022. That’s when my colleague Ian Allison from CoinDesk published a monumental scoop that revealed evidence of Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research, and his systemically important FTX crypto exchange being on shaky footing. It later turned out that Bankman-Fried had stolen billions of dollars from customers, leading to his downfall.

The industry was taken by surprise and Bankman-Fried needed a bailout. Within nine days of the story, he was arrested and his empire was in bankruptcy court. Allison’s story had caused huge waves, with no precedent for the size and speed of the impact it had.

The CoinDesk newsroom was praised for their coverage of the collapse, with several awards including the Polk, Loeb and New York Press Club. At the Loeb ceremony, our Editor-in-Chief Kevin Reynolds said: “I’ve never seen better teamwork or a better overall performance.” He continued, “Given the severity of the winter gripping the crypto industry, a downturn partly precipitated by the very reporting and editing that we’re being honored for tonight, I can no longer say with certainty that the best is yet to come for CoinDesk.”

Allison has been a part of the CoinDesk team for five years, and I have been working with him for 16 months. He has a knack for writing stories that make a huge impact. He was the first to report that BlackRock would let clients buy and sell crypto through its trading platform, and he was the one to break the news that BlackRock was planning a bitcoin ETF, which was confirmed by the company soon after.

In November, CoinDesk was sold to Bullish, a crypto exchange run by former New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley, and our future became a little brighter.

Allison was humbled when he was told that he would be included in CoinDesk’s Most Influential of 2023 list. He is already looking for his next big scoop.

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