Fortune and Mark Wahlberg’s Unrealistic Ideas are teaming up to make an FTX documentary with exclusive access to Binance CEO and SBF rival CZ

February 1, 2023, 5:23 PM UTC
Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao
Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao.
Photograph by Hayley Benoit for Fortune

On Nov. 6, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the founder of the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, wrote a cryptic tweet.

“We gave support before, but we won’t pretend to make love after divorce,” he wrote, after declaring he would sell a pile of FTT, the in-house token created by rival exchange FTX and its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried. “We are not against anyone. But we won’t support people who lobby against other industry players behind their backs. Onwards.”

Five days later, FTX, once valued by investors at tens of billions of dollars, declared bankruptcy.

CZ’s fateful decision to sell FTT en masse set off a cascade of events that roiled the crypto industry. Within 48 hours, one-time golden boy SBF’s vast empire was destroyed, and his reputation was in tatters. He’s now considered one of the most infamous fraudsters in the history of American finance.

The downfall of SBF and CZ’s involvement was the culmination of a rivalry that echoes other famous feuds in business history, including those between the Winklevoss twins and Mark Zuckerberg, and between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

The implosion of FTX, including the rivalry between CZ and SBF, is the stuff of epics that can only be told by Hollywood. In order to tell the full story, Fortune is teaming up with Unrealistic Ideas, Mark Wahlberg’s award-winning production company and maker of McMillion$, to create a documentary about crypto’s greatest saga.

The documentary will feature exclusive access to Binance CEO CZ, a Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur who worked at McDonald’s and gas stations in high school to support his family before making his way into the big leagues of finance. He hopscotched from New York to Tokyo to Paris as he built the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume. The documentary will dive into his relationship with Bankman-Fried, the Ivy League scion who had all the right connections but ultimately betrayed CZ, leading to a falling out that’s been cataclysmic to the industry.

Fortune, which has interviewed both SBF and CZ over the years and has covered Binance and FTX since their founding, was the first mainstream media company to create a dedicated crypto vertical. It will use its 93 years of journalistic rigor to produce the most in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at how FTX unraveled, and what prompted CZ’s bold actions the week of the crash.

You can learn more about the production from Unrealistic Ideas in this exclusive report from Hollywood Reporter.

Jeff John Roberts


Bitcoin extended its rally, hovering near $24,000, following comments by the Fed chair. (Bloomberg)

The UK will go forward with a broad regulatory plan that seeks to bring crypto closer to mainstream finance, but will “adjust the dial to reflect recent market events.” (FT)

Accounting body FASB approved a long-sought-after rule change that will let companies mark crypto assets at fair value on their balance sheet. (WSJ)

Even as Meta posted upbeat earnings, its metaverse decision posted a huge Q4 loss of $4.3 billion. (Fortune)

A Bitcoin-friendly decentralized social networking app called Damus, backed by Twitter’s former CEO, is getting some buzz. (TechCrunch)


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