The New York Times has come under fire for an article it published about Sam Bankman-Fried, with critics calling it a puff on the accused crypto fraudster.
The Times widely quoted Bankman-Fried for an article whose title reads: “How Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire fell apart”. The article describes Bankman-Fried as “SBF,” noting that he spoke to the newspaper in an interview Sunday.
According to The Times crypto and fintech reporter David Yaffe-Bellany’s article, Bankman-Fried seemed “surprisingly calm” in the interview, which lasted until after midnight.
“You would have thought I wouldn’t be sleeping right now, and instead I’m having a little,” said Bankman-Fried, whose business was worth up to $32 billion a year ago. at the Times. “It could be worse.”
Matt Novak, media critic for news site Gizmodo, writes that Yaffe-Bellany “lays out the facts in a way that is clearly beneficial to SBF’s version of the story and leaves many of his highly questionable claims without proper context.” or even the smallest. amount of pushback.
“It’s as if The Times conducted an interview with Bernie Madoff after his Ponzi scheme collapsed and ultimately suggested he just made some bad investments,” Novak writes.
In the Times interview, Bankman-Fried declined to go into detail about FTX’s handling of client assets, which were apparently used to place risky bets through a subsidiary, Alameda Research.
Bankman-Fried told The Times that Alameda Research, which was run by Bankman-Fried’s girlfriend Caroline Ellison, amassed a large margin position on FTX, meaning it had borrowed money from the society.
“It was a lot bigger than I thought,” Bankman-Fried told The Times. “And actually the downside risk was very significant.”
“If I had been a little more focused on what I was doing, I could have been more thorough,” Bankman-Fried added during his interview with The Times. “It would have allowed me to grasp what was happening on the risk side.”
On Twitter, the reaction to the Times story was scathing.
“Shameful @nytimes reporting on FTX,” one Twitter user tweeted.
“It portrays SBF as a charitable entrepreneur who went bankrupt and does not mention the words fraud, criminal, drug addiction, friends and family Bahamas KYC racketeering, hacking, stolen funds or wiped out servers anywhere.”
The Post sought comment from The Times and Yaffe-Bellany.
Novak points out that Bankman-Fried expressed little remorse in the interview. The FTX founder told The Times that his crypto exchange company “grew too quickly” and that he “missed the warning signs.”
Reuters reported that at least $4 billion in FTX funds, including client assets, were used to finance Alameda Research’s activities – an apparent violation of US securities laws.
Gizmodo also slammed The Times for its “crypto-industry talk” of FTT, the digital coin created by FTX to “facilitate trading on its platform.”
FTX’s collapse was accelerated after Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of rival Binance, announced on Twitter earlier this month that it was selling off its FTT cache – this just three years after Zhao bought a stake 20% in FTX.
The token’s price crashed 80% over the next two days and a torrent of outflows from the exchange accelerated, according to blockchain data.
“FTT was actually created by SBF for the same reason any other cryptocurrency was created: as a speculative asset that allows early investors to extract wealth from people who put money into it. ‘active after price spikes,’ writes Gizmodo’s Novak. .
Zhao’s tweet, which was posted after learning that Bankman-Fried had urged US regulators to target Binance, alarmed FTX customers who rushed to withdraw their deposits from the exchange.
Bankman-Fried told The Times he regretted targeting Zhao, saying “it was not a good strategic move on my part.”
“I was quite frustrated with a lot of what I saw happen, but I should have understood that it was not a good decision on my part to voice that,” Bankman-Fried told The Times.
With post wires
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