FTX’s in-house performance coach claimed on Tuesday that the doomed crypto firm’s Bahamian headquarters was a “rather tame place” – despite rampant speculation about its executives’ sex lives and alleged substance use.
Online gossip alleging the group lived in a “polycule” — or polyamorous relationship web — exploded after CoinDesk reported that the leaders “are, or were, paired up in romantic relationships with each other.”
Dr. George K. Lerner, a psychiatrist, reportedly served as a therapist for disgraced FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and as an advisor to many of the company’s employees. Bankman-Fried and his ex-lover Caroline Ellison were reportedly part of a 10-person group that ran FTX and its sister cryptocurrency trading company Alameda Research from a “luxury penthouse” in the Bahamas.
“It’s a pretty quiet place,” Lerner told The New York Times. “The superiors, they mostly played chess and board games. There was no party. They were under-sexed, if anything.
Lerner told the outlet that he moved in June to the Bahamas, where he served as an advisor at FTX for 32 hours a week and also maintained a “small private practice.” The performance coach claimed that FTX executives were workaholics with little social life.
“They were working way too much,” he added. “It would have been healthier if they had healthier romantic relationships.”
The personal habits of Bankman-Fried and other executives have come under scrutiny following reports that at least $1 billion in FTX client funds are still missing. FTX, Alameda Research and more than 100 affiliates filed for bankruptcy last week.
Lerner also addressed the viral rumors about alleged use of stimulants by FTX executives. Ellison, the CEO of Alameda Research, admitted to “regular amphetamine use” in an April 2021 tweet, while Bankman-Fried openly discussed his experimentation with Adderall and other stimulants.
Amphetamine can be prescribed under the brand name Adderall as a drug to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Lerner told The Times that while some FTX employees may have received prescriptions for ADHD medication, the “ADHD rate at the company was in line with most tech companies.”
Lerner also admitted to writing prescriptions to FTX employees he treated as patients in his private practice, although he did not specify which ones he prescribed.
The Post has reached out to Lerner, Bankman-Fried and FTX for further comment.
In a separate interview with Vice, Lerner said he had served as “coach” to “about 100 employees, including 20 to 40 on a semi-regular basis.”
In a September 15, 2019, tweet, Bankman-Fried described productivity-boosting habits in a reply to another Twitter user. This user’s post has since been deleted, but Bankman-Fried’s post is still online.
“Stimulants when you wake up, sleeping pills if you need them while you sleep,” Bankman-Fried tweeted. “Be aware of where your headspace is: I often nap at the office so my mind doesn’t go out of work mode between shifts.”
Lerner’s association with Bankman-Fried first appeared in a now-deleted profile posted last September on the Sequoia Capital website, where he was identified as the ex-billionaire’s therapist. The investment giant was recently forced to write down the value of its investment in FTX to zero.
The psychiatrist told The New York Times that Bankman-Fried had a number of ‘nervous habits’, such as ‘quickly tapping his foot’ – something he apparently does in an October interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s “Meet The Press Reports.” During the interview, Bankman-Fried stamps his foot so furiously that he appears to be shaking.
Lerner said Bankman-Fried uses a “fidget spinner” toy and also plays video games to relieve stress.
The shrink also dismissed the possibility that Bankman-Fried knowingly committed wrongdoing.
“I just can’t see him doing that, honestly,” Lerner said. “I mean, I guess maybe I should sit down with him and figure out why. But I’m having trouble making that leap.
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