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‘There were no wild parties’: FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried pushes back on depiction of raucous, drug-fueled lifestyle with coworkers

December 1, 2022, 12:08 AM UTC
Photo of Sam Bankman-Fried
FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried before the crypto exchange's collapse.
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg—Getty Images

In Sam Bankman Fried’s first live interview since stepping down as CEO of FTX, with the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin at the DealBook summit, he was asked about his—and his colleagues’—drug use amid the crypto exchange’s shockingly abrupt collapse this month.

“Can you just speak to the idea of this company that, at least from the public perspective, seemed like a regulated company or something that was very focused on compliance…but it seems like when you read the stories, it sounds like a bunch of kids who were on Adderall having a sleepover party,” Sorkin asked Bankman-Fried on Wednesday.

The remark garnered laughter from the audience, but instead of directly addressing the insinuation of drug use or possibly abuse, Bankman-Fried instead said that he “screwed up.”

“I was the CEO of FTX…that means I had a responsibility, that means that I was responsible ultimately for us to do the right things,” SBF answered. “And I mean, we didn’t, like we messed up big.”

To clarify, Bankman-Fried added: “There were no wild parties. At our parties we play board games…20% of people would have a quarter of a beer each, and the rest of us would not drink anything.”

He did confirm that he’s been prescribed various drugs or medicines to help him concentrate. 

“I think they help me focus a little bit,” he said.

Since the shocking collapse of FTX, some coverage has centered on the lifestyle of Bankman-Fried and his colleagues, who lived in a sprawling penthouse in the Bahamas. Multiple employees reportedly were in romantic relationships with each other.

“The whole operation was run by a gang of kids in the Bahamas,” an anonymous source told CoinDesk

Bankman-Fried tweeted in 2019 about his stimulant use, writing: “Stimulants when you wake, sleeping pills if you need them when you sleep.” He added: “Be mindful of where your headspace is: I often nap in the office so that my mind doesn’t leave work mode between shifts.”

The disgraced crypto entrepreneur, who once was worth a reported $16 billion, went on to tell Sorkin that he only had about $100,000 left to his name.

“I don’t have any hidden funds here,” he said. “I’m down to one working credit card left, I think.”

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