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How is SBF coping with losing $16 billion and the possibility of prison? He’s playing video games and posting cryptic tweets

November 15, 2022, 12:52 PM UTC
CEO of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried testifies during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee.
Sam Bankman-Fried, pictured in 2021, was said to be “surprisingly calm” in an interview with the New York Times.
Alex Wong—Getty Images

For most people, the prospect of bankrupting a company, losing a multibillion-dollar fortune, and a potential prison sentence would be a major source of stress.

But Sam Bankman-Fried, the former boss of collapsed crypto behemoth FTX, has said he isn’t losing much sleep.  

In an interview with the New York Times on Sunday night, Bankman-Fried was said to be “surprisingly calm” amid the fallout of FTX’s—and his own—downfall.  

Until last week, Bankman-Fried was widely respected, having cultivated an image as a philanthropist as well as a business magnate, drawing comparisons to the likes of Warren Buffett. However, the 48-hour demise of FTX has left his reputation in tatters.

The former FTX boss has also taken a massive personal financial hit, with his entire $16 billion fortune being wiped out, according to Bloomberg, marking one of the greatest destructions of wealth in history. At the peak of his fortune, the 30-year-old had a net worth of $26 billion.

“You would’ve thought that I’d be getting no sleep right now, and instead I’m getting some,” he told the Times on Sunday. “It could be worse.”

While Bankman-Fried declined to comment on potential prison time—the U.S. Justice Department and the SEC are currently investigating whether FTX wrongly used billions of dollars of customers’ money to prop up Alameda Research, the trading company Bankman-Fried also founded—he seemed to shrug off negative public opinion.

“People can say all the mean things they want about me online,” he told the Times. “In the end, what’s going to matter to me is what I’ve done and what I can do.”

Gaming and tweeting

Since FTX and Bankman-Fried himself became embroiled in scandal last week, he has remained fairly quiet about the entire fiasco—but has stayed active on Twitter, taking to the platform to apologize for the disaster and tease his 1 million followers with cryptic messages.  

On Monday, he began drip-feeding a message, beginning with the word “what” followed by the letter “H” in a separate tweet. Over the course of the next day, he added to the Twitter thread to spell out “What happened,” with the latest tweet—posted Monday night—reading: “Not legal advice. Not financial advice. This is all as I remember it, but my memory might be faulty in parts.” It is unclear what he is referring to, or whether he plans to add more to the thread.

“I’m making it up as I go,” Bankman-Fried told the Times on Sunday when quizzed about his newfound penchant for composing enigmatic tweets.   

Asked by the Times whether he was planning a series of cryptic tweets, he responded: “Something like that.”

“I’m improvising,” he added. “I think it’s time.”

As well as spending time tweeting, SBF said he’d been filling his free hours in recent days by playing the video game Storybook Brawl.

“It helps me unwind a bit,” he said in the interview. “It clears my mind.”

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