It's not clear if FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has a legal team or anyone else advising him to stay tight-lipped after the collapse of his crytocurrency exchange, costing him his entire fortune—but if he does, he's ignoring that advice. As part of what critics are calling a "PR blitz" to "recraft his narrative," Bankman-Fried has been chatting with various outlets on a variety of topics, from FTX filing for bankruptcy and how much he's now worth, to salacious rumors about the sexual relationships of FTX execs living with him in the Bahamas. Here, a roundup of some of the conversations Bankman-Fried has been having:
- Speaking with Axios on Monday evening, Bankman-Fried hinted at just how much of his $26.5 billion has vanished. "Am I allowed to say a negative number?" he said, before adding, "I mean, I have no idea. I don't know. I had $100,000 in my bank account last I checked." He says that everything to his name was "tied up in the company."
- Bankman-Fried also conceded to the outlet that better oversight and regulation could've kept FTX from imploding. "That would have been extremely helpful," he noted. "I wish there had been someone who wasn't me who was in charge of managing conflicts of interest. ... I wish that I had more reporting and transparency to outside parties."
- The next day, YouTuber Tiffany Fong posted a 23-minute interview she'd had with Bankman-Fried on Nov. 16, per Intelligencer, which describes the entire conversation as a hot mess of sorts. Fong—who says she's not an "official journalist or reporter" and that this was her "first time interviewing literally anyone, ever"—grilled the ex-FTX CEO on whispers of polyamorous affairs among FTX higher-ups, allegations that his hedge fund used FTX customer cash to trade, and his political donations to both Dems and the GOP. "All my Republican donations were dark," he told Fong. "The reason was not for regulatory reasons. It's because reporters freak the f--- out if you donate to Republicans, they're all super-liberal, and I didn't want to have that fight." Listen to the interview in full here.
- The night before his talk with Fong, Bankman-Fried also chatted with Vox reporter Kelsey Piper, who notes he surprised her by sliding into her Twitter DMs, eager to talk openly about much of the FTX chaos. "The grief and pain he has caused is immense, and I came away from our conversation appalled by much of what he said," Piper writes in her recap of their talk, which includes screenshots from the messages that flew back and forth between them. Among those was one that seemed to contradict what Bankman-Fried told Axios on regulation. "[F]--- regulators," he wrote. "[T]hey make everything worse. [T]hey don't protect customers at all." Read Piper's jaw-dropping account in full here, which includes an admission from Bankman-Fried that "I f---ed up big ... multiple times." He told Piper that his "biggest single f---up" was filing for Chapter 11.
(Read more Sam Bankman-Fried