A report of an exchange between former FTX Chief Executive Sam Bankman-Fried and a reporter was raising eyebrows, and concerns, Wednesday evening, fresh off the stunning collapse of the crypto trading platform he founded three years ago.
Vox’s Kelsey Piper reported that Bankman-Fried direct-messaged her on Twitter recently, after she reached out to him, reporting that he shared a number of unvarnished thoughts, including an expletive-laced commentary on regulators and the view that his promotion of himself as a highly ethical investor was a ruse that was established to garner trust as the 30-year-old wunderkind grew his crypto site to a multibillion-dollar platform.
“Fuck regulators,” Bankman-Fried wrote. “They make everything worse,” the exchange continues, according to Vox, which presented screenshots of the exchange in its article.
The exchange implies that Bankman-Fried’s adoption of so-called effective altruism, a philosophy that encourages people to make as much money as they can and donate it to charity, was a charade, intended to bolster his reputation.
“It’s what reputations are made of, to some extent,” he wrote, according to the Vox article. “I feel bad for those who got fucked by it.”
“By this dumb game we woke westerners play where we say all the right shiboleths and so everyone likes us,” Vox reported he said.
Bankman-Fried, who resigned as CEO last week, has been an active tweeter throughout FTX’s collapse, earlier having written that he was “shocked to see things unravel the way they did.”
FTX has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
A message from an account tied to FTX’s official Twitter handle seemed to acknowledge the comments reported by Vox.
“As previously announced, Mr. Bankman-Fried resigned on November 11 from @FTX_Official, FTX US, Alameda Research Ltd. and their directly and indirectly owned subsidiaries,” reads the tweet. “Mr. Bankman-Fried has no ongoing role at @FTX_Official, FTX US, or Alameda Research Ltd. and does not speak on their behalf.”
In a series of tweets Wednesday afternoon, Bankman-Fried acknowledged the exchange: “Last night I talked to a friend of mine. They published my messages. Those were not intended to be public, but I guess they are now.”
In the Twitter thread, he backtracked on his criticism of regulators, and admitted “Some of what I said was thoughtless or overly strong–I was venting.”
Earlier, Reuters reported the allegation Bankman-Fried had a “back door” that allowed him to mask the transfer of customer funds to his Alameda hedge fund, which Bankman-Fried told the news agency was just “confusing internal labeling.”
The former FTX CEO couldn’t be reached for comment. A request for comment from Vox’s Piper wasn’t immediately returned.
On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, and the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, said they planned to hold a hearing in December focused on the collapse of FTX and the “broader consequences for the digital asset ecosystem.”
The committee is expected to hear from the companies and individuals involved, including Bankman-Fried.