Failed FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, the tee-total vegan gamer who sleeps four hours a night

Inside the very millennial life of ‘bankrupt’ FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried: Teetotal vegan gamer, 30, who claims to sleep four hours a night on a BEANBAG in his Bahamas penthouse that is also his office (which he shares with nine college pals)

  • Bankman-Fried, 30,  is a tee-total vegan who sleeps four hours a night, drives a Toyota Corolla and shuns designer clothes for sneakers and scruffy loungewear
  • Nicknamed SBF, he lives in a multimillion-dollar apartment in the Bahamas with nine of his acolytes, including his rumored on-off lover Caroline Ellison, 28
  • The son of Stanford graduates, he calls himself an ‘effective altruist’ who wanted to give away most of his now-decimated fortune to good causes
  • But collapse of FTX saw 96 percent of his wealth wiped out in a single day – the largest ever one-day drop for a billionaire

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For a one-time crypto billionaire who rubs shoulders with A-listers from Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen to Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, departing FTX chief Sam Bank-Fried leads an unassuming lifestyle. Some might even say boring.

The 30-year-old, nicknamed SBF, is a tee-total vegan who sleeps four hours a night, drives a Toyota Corolla and shuns designer clothes for scruffy loungewear and sneakers.

It’s likely that the only luxury he’ll need to give up following the collapse of FTX is his exclusive penthouse in the tax haven of the Bahamas, which he shares with several of his acolytes.

Bankman-Fried lives in the apartment-cum-office with nine of his staff, including his rumored on-off lover, 28-year-old Stanford grad Caroline Ellison.

Ellison, a Harry Potter fanatic whose father is an esteemed academic, was CEO of Alameda Research, the trading firm launched by Bankman-Fried which is inextricably tied to FTX’s downfall.

Bankman-Fried confirmed in a tweet on Thursday that Alameda was also winding down operations after FTX’s collapse.

Fallen crypto golden boy Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, is a vegan gamer who sleeps four hours per night so he can dedicate as much time as possible to work

Fallen crypto golden boy Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, is a vegan gamer who sleeps four hours per night so he can dedicate as much time as possible to work 

His rumored on-off lover, 28-year-old Caroline Ellison, is one of ten FTX and Alameda Research staffers who live in a multimillion-dollar Bahamas penthouse

His rumored on-off lover, 28-year-old Caroline Ellison, is one of ten FTX and Alameda Research staffers who live in a multimillion-dollar Bahamas penthouse

FTX co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Gary Wang is also a member of the Bahamas set

FTX co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Gary Wang is also a member of the Bahamas set

FTX Director of Engineering Nishad Singh also lives in the penthouse with Sam Bankman-Fried

FTX Director of Engineering Nishad Singh also lives in the penthouse with Sam Bankman-Fried

Movie buffs will recognize the coastline around the FTX founder’s multi-million dollar bolthole as the paradisiacal beach where Daniel Craig emerged from the ocean as James Bond in Casino Royale.

While contemporaries like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos frolic on yachts or dine at the world’s finest restaurants, Bankman-Fried spends his (very limited) free time playing League of Legends, an online fantasy game.

The rest of the time, he’s working and studying charts on the six computer screens overlooking a workstation that wouldn’t be out of place on a space shuttle.

Stunning penthouse aside, it’s a modest lifestyle for a young man who, until this week, had a fortune valued at $16 billion.

In fact, he’s a self-proclaimed ‘effective altruist’, an ethos that can be loosely defined as using the resources at one’s disposal to bring about as much good as possible.

Bankman-Fried on stage with Gisele Bundchen (right) earlier this year at the Crypto Bahamas conference

Bankman-Fried on stage with Gisele Bundchen (right) earlier this year at the Crypto Bahamas conference

Ex-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and former President Bill Clinton were also at Crypto Bahamas. They wore suits while SBF opted for his usual casual-wear of t-shirt, shorts and sneakers

Ex-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and former President Bill Clinton were also at Crypto Bahamas. They wore suits while SBF opted for his usual casual-wear of t-shirt, shorts and sneakers

FTX moved its HQ from Hong Kong to the Bahamas, a tax haven, in September 2021. SBF is pictured with the Bahaman Prime Minister, Philip Davis (center), and other officials

FTX moved its HQ from Hong Kong to the Bahamas, a tax haven, in September 2021. SBF is pictured with the Bahaman Prime Minister, Philip Davis (center), and other officials

Bankman-Fried moved into a luxury penthouse at the Albany resort with nine of his acolytes

Bankman-Fried moved into a luxury penthouse at the Albany resort with nine of his acolytes

The exclusive resort has views of the beach featured in the James Bond movie Casino Royale

The exclusive resort has views of the beach featured in the James Bond movie Casino Royale

He’s a passionate activist whose FTX foundation, the charity arm of the failed firm, has donated millions to causes to prevent climate change and improve healthcare.

He also handed $5.2 million to President Joe Biden’s 2020 election campaign.

But the collapse of FTX leaves his fortune – and his altruistic ambitions – in ruins. Bankman-Fried’s wealth plunged an estimated 94 percent in a single day, the biggest one-day fall of any billionaire in history.

Bankman-Fried was born on the campus of Stanford University in California to two esteemed law professors at the Ivy League institution.

His mother, Barbara Fried, is the William W. and Gertrude H. Saunders Professor of Law. His father, Joseph Bankman, is Ralph M. Parsons Professor of Law and Business at Stanford Law School.

He studied math and physics at MIT before joining Jane Street Capital in 2013, a Wall Street behemoth that made $17 trillion in trades in 2020.

He quit four years later, moved to the liberal enclave of Berkeley, California, and started Alameda Research.

FTX itself was founded in April 2019 and three years later was valued at an eye-watering $32 billion.

The company was initially headquartered in Hong Kong but moved its headquarters to the Bahamas in September 2021, in part because of a crackdown on crypto by China.

Bankman-Fried is the son of Stanford law professors and was born on the university campus

Bankman-Fried is the son of Stanford law professors and was born on the university campus

He studied physics and mathematics at MIT before working for a Wall Street investment firm

He studied physics and mathematics at MIT before working for a Wall Street investment firm

His mother, Barbara Fried, is the William W. and Gertrude H. Saunders Professor of Law at Stanford

His mother, Barbara Fried, is the William W. and Gertrude H. Saunders Professor of Law at Stanford

His father, Joseph Bankman, is Ralph M. Parsons Professor of Law and Business at Stanford Law School

His father, Joseph Bankman, is Ralph M. Parsons Professor of Law and Business at Stanford Law School

The Bahamas is also a tax haven – with no corporate tax, income tax, or capital gains tax – handy for a company enjoying stratospheric growth.

Bankman-Fried and his inner-circle moved into a penthouse on the island’s exclusive Albany resort, where vacation rooms start at around $3,000-a-night.

He shacked up with nine of his FTX and Alameda staff, including the company’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Gary Wang, and Director of Engineering Nishad Singh.

The clique of ten are said to be split into five couples that are either in relationships or were previously romantically linked.

Bankman-Fried has reportedly dated the Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, a Stanford math graduate and daughter of two economists, who also worked at Jane Street.

In a podcast posted to the FTX Official YouTube page in July 2020, Ellison described parts of her work at Alameda as ‘uncertain’ and ‘terrifying’.

And like Bankman-Fried, she comes from a family steeped in academia. Her father is Glenn Ellison, the Gregory K. Palm Professor of Economics at MIT.

A young Sam Bankman-Fried in a picture from 2009 when he took part in a sleep study

A young Sam Bankman-Fried in a picture from 2009 when he took part in a sleep study

A young Sam Bankman-Fried in a picture from 2009 when he took part in a sleep study

A young Sam Bankman-Fried in a picture from 2009 when he took part in a sleep study

A source told Coindesk, the outlet whose story about FTX’s finances preceded its downfall, that ‘the whole operation was run by a gang of kids in the Bahamas’.

Bankman-Fried, Wang and Singh were described by one person as controlling ‘the code, the exchange’s matching engine and funds’.

Ominously, they added: ‘If they moved them around or input their own numbers, I’m not sure who would notice.’

Another insider said the trio would ‘do anything for each other’.

Bankman-Fried met some of his FTX team at Epsilon Theta, a ‘living group’ at MIT which has been described as like a fraternity ‘but replace all the alcohol with the nerdiest stuff you can imagine’.

Indeed, Epsilon Theta’s website explains: ‘The House is socially dry, meaning that no alcohol is served at parties. However, visitors can usually expect to find costumes, cake, and/or LARPing.’

LARPing is live action roleplaying which involves dressing up as characters to play out fantasy games.

Fallen crypto golden boy Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, is a vegan gamer who sleeps four hours per night so he can dedicate as much time as possible to work

Fallen crypto golden boy Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, is a vegan gamer who sleeps four hours per night so he can dedicate as much time as possible to work

His $16bn was decimated by the demise of FTX, which also triggered turmoil in the crypto markets

His $16bn was decimated by the demise of FTX, which also triggered turmoil in the crypto markets

FTX went from a leading crypto platform to 'worthless' overnight after clients rushed to cash out their assets

FTX went from a leading crypto platform to ‘worthless’ overnight after clients rushed to cash out their assets

Bankman-Fried’s Bahaman dream appeared to peak in April of this year when he shared a stage on the island with Tom Brady, his now ex-wife Gisele Bundchen, former president Bill Clinton and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. 

It’s not often you’d put those four names in the same line-up. But so convincing was SBF’s vision, they came together for the Crypto Bahamas conference to trumpet the endless opportunities of decentralized currencies.

Just six months later, the future of Bankman-Fried’s Caribbean romp appears in tatters.

On Friday after FTX filed for bankruptcy and Bankman-Fried dramatically resigned as CEO.

FTX is also under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, while investors like sports stars Tom Brady, Steph Curry and Naomi Osaka are poised to lose the majority, if not all, of their money.

For his part, Bankman-Fried publicly confessed on Thursday: ‘I f***** up’.

It remains to  be seen whether he’ll able to restore his wealth – and his reputation.

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