Sam Bankman-Fried Shifts Blame Away from Himself for FTX's Downfall

Sam Bankman-Fried Shifts Blame Away from Himself for FTX's Downfall

In confidential documents disclosed to the New York Times, the FTX founder expressed worry about becoming "one of the world's most despised individuals."

The New York Times has recently obtained a significant collection of writings attributed to Sam Bankman-Fried, believed to have been composed during his period of house arrest. While the most intriguing segments remain undisclosed – including a purported 70-page Twitter thread in which the former CEO of FTX provides his perspective on the business's downfall – these writings contain notable quotations and insights that provide valuable insights into SBF's mindset both preceding and following the collapse of his crypto empire.

Bankman-Fried's refusal to acknowledge responsibility for the monumental $8 billion loss, the financial devastation of countless individuals, or the potential legal consequences, remains glaringly apparent. His primary lamentation seems centered around his tarnished public image, as if the ongoing legal proceedings and financial turmoil were mere distractions from the illustrious statesman persona he once aspired to maintain.

In one instance, Bankman-Fried reportedly penned, "I find myself financially strained, under electronic surveillance, and reviled by many across the globe." It's difficult to ignore the profound self-absorption exhibited in such a statement, especially given the magnitude of the losses suffered by numerous stakeholders.

To be fair, the context behind Bankman-Fried's words, as revealed in what appears to be a leaked personal diary, remains undisclosed by The New York Times. Nevertheless, the audacity of someone to express financial hardship after orchestrating such extensive financial losses is staggering.

Furthermore, his assertion that he acted in accordance with what he believed was right echoes the very mindset that initially led him into this predicament – the belief that the ends justify the means. This philosophy is precisely what got Bankman-Fried entangled in this mess in the first place.

While much has been said about Bankman-Fried's brand of "effective altruism," emphasizing the pursuit of profit as a means to later philanthropy, recent reporting on his parents, Stanford Law School professors Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, underscores how certain philosophies run in the family. They supported Bankman-Fried on his ascent to prominence and continue to do so, even amidst his notoriety, despite the turmoil he has caused by violating bail conditions.

Bankman, in particular, played an active role at FTX, attending meetings and providing tax advice. He was viewed as a wise and steady presence, helping to interpret his son's sometimes impulsive decisions and offering counsel on the "right" course of action.

If Bankman-Fried inherited his business acumen from his father, it appears he also inherited his mother's ethical framework. Bankman-Fried is renowned as a consequentialist philosopher, someone who ponders intricate ethical dilemmas like the Trolley Problem. However, one might question whether his actions truly reflect the ethos of a consequentialist thinker who carefully considers the ramifications of his choices, or if the pursuit of Bahamian vacation properties was always the ultimate objective.

While Bankman-Fried appears reluctant to confront his own decisions, he seems more eager to place blame on those around him. Notably, he has constructed a narrative that pins the blame on his former girlfriend and ex-employee, Caroline Ellison, alleging that her oversight of a single unfavorable trade led to the financial woes at FTX and Alameda. He absolves himself of any involvement with the "Fiat@" account used for misappropriating customer funds, instead pointing fingers at the lawyers from Sullivan & Cromwell who oversaw FTX's bankruptcy proceedings.

It is perplexing that Bankman-Fried exhibited a disregard for consequences before his legal troubles unfolded, only to continue this attitude now that his desired outcomes appear unreachable. It is disheartening to consider his declaration in a document titled "Truth," where he professed, "It's something that I believe fairly strongly in."