‘I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.’ SBF apologizes to FTX ‘family’ over collapse of crypto giant – as employees claim doomed-firm had debauched culture of partner-swapping and drug taking at the notorious party house
- In a sorrowful letter to his former employees, disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried said he would ‘give anything to go back and do things over’
- SBF, as he has come to be known, resigned as CEO of the crypto catastrophe on November 11, the same day that the company filed for bankruptcy
- The 30-year-old’s other business dealings, including those with his girlfriend’s trading firm, Alameda Research, is also coming under scrutiny
- Recently it emerged that SBF’s girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, practiced a polyamorist lifestyle while the pair were in a relationship
- Locals in the Bahamas have complained about the frat house lifestyle that he cultivated among his employees while living in an affluent community on the islands
The founder of the company behind arguably the biggest crypto catastrophe of all time has written to his FTX ‘family’ to say that he is sorry.
In a letter sent Tuesday, and first published by CoinDesk, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried wrote in part: ‘I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, and I would give anything to be able to go back and do things over again. You were my family.’
He continued in the letter – posted on his behalf through the company Slack by another employee, as SBF has now been removed from the internal messenger: ‘I’ve lost that, and our old home is an empty warehouse of monitors. When I turn around, there’s no one left to talk to.’
His apology comes as the CEO faces a possible House investigation over allegations that he used FTX money to fund bets with Alameda Research, a sister company and trading firm run by his one-time girlfriend Caroline Ellison.
Just a week ago, it emerged that Ellison wrote on her Tumblr account in February 2020 that she made a ‘foray into poly,’ referring to the practice of having multiple partners.
In addition, SBF, as he has come to be known, ran a glorified frat house out of his $40 million home in the affluent Albany district in the Bahamas, reports the New York Post.
A local resident told the Post: ‘The feeling was that they were treating Albany like a frat house.’
He added: ‘They would walk around in sweats and T-shirts. That was not the Albany lifestyle that residents there signed up for. The typical dress was Ralph Lauren sport jackets. Sam and his group did not seem to fit the part.’
The Post article details SBF and his staff pulling all-nighters while simultaneously partying and working, all the while fueled by amphetamines.
In a letter, first published by CoinDesk, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried wrote in part: ‘I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, and I would give anything to be able to go back and do things over again. You were my family’
The Albany Bahamas Resort community, the location of several FTX employees’ homes, has been described as ‘the ultimate in luxury waterfront living in the Caribbean’ by listing agents
$30 million: The former penthouse residence of Sam Bankman-Fried in the luxurious Albany development, which was ‘meticulously designed with Venetian plaster walls matching Italian marble accents throughout,’ its listing says
A local resident told the New York Post that SBF and his employees regularly partied and pulled all-nighters. He said: ‘The feeling was that they were treating Albany like a frat house’
With 7,500 square feet, five bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms and a pool directly in front of the master suite, it is the jewel in one of the highly secure community’s landmark buildings, The Orchid
It is not known if SBF has been staying at the apartment full time since FTX filed for bankruptcy protection on November 11
Bankman-Fried’s FTX snapped up 19 properties worth $121million before his crypto empire fell, including a $16million vacation home for his parents
The Albany is a 17-mile drive from the Bahamian capital Nassau, near the picturesque south-western tip of New Providence. SBF’s main team before the collapse had set up in a now shuttered office park in the stunning Lyford Cay area about four miles north
In April, FTX broke ground on a planned $60million campus on the north side of Nassau overlooking the ocean, with plans to include a 38-room hotel. The site is currently gated off
Describing the manner in which the group dressed, a local resident said: ‘They would walk around in sweats and T-shirts. That was not the Albany lifestyle that residents there signed up for. The typical dress was Ralph Lauren sport jackets. Sam and his group did not seem to fit the part’
Another source told the Post that during a crypto conference in the Bahamas in April: ‘[FTX Staff] were staying up all night, snorting Adderall, smelling like they hadn’t showered in weeks.’
Bankman-Fried has told Reuters he lived in a house with nine other colleagues. FTX provided free meals and an ‘in-house Uber-like’ service around the island for employees.
Boutique bistro Cocoplum, just yards from FTX’s headquarters, told Fox News that Bankman-Fried spent $2,500 a day there on takeout deliveries, adding that he would spend an additional $7,500 a day elsewhere at other restaurants.
In his sorrowful letter, the 30-year-old entrepreneur said that the company’s demise was related to a missing $8 billion and argued that he was against filing for bankruptcy this month because he believed he could save FTX.
He wrote: ‘We likely could have raised significant funding. Potential interest in billions of dollars of funding came in roughly eight minutes after I signed the chapter 11 docs.’
SBF went on to say that potential investors, combined with the collateral that the company still held, meant that FTX was salvageable.
FTX had agreed earlier this month to sell itself to bigger rival Binance after experiencing the cryptocurrency equivalent of a bank run. SBF now says that he froze in the face of Binance’s letter of intent to purchase the company.
He says that he was pressured into filing for bankruptcy and that parts of FTX ‘were solvent.’
SBF wrote: ‘I reluctantly gave in to that pressure, even though I should have known better; I wish I had listened to those of you who saw and still see value in the platform, which was and is my belief as well.’
Since the collapse of FTX, SBF has repeatedly stated that he believes his company was not struggling in the manner the media depicted.
FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11, the same day that SBF stepped down as CEO, sending shockwaves through the cryptocurrency industry, which has seen an enormous amount of volatility this year, including a sharp decline in the price of bitcoin and other digital assets.
But the sheer size of FTX’s collapse highlights the massive market risks inherent in the growing crypto industry. Billions of dollars of wealth may have been destroyed in a few days.
The circumstances have prompted investigations by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission.
SBF was recently estimated to be worth $23 billion and has been a prominent political donor to Democrats. His net worth has all but evaporated, according to Forbes and Bloomberg, which closely track the net worth of the world’s richest people.
Bankman-Fried’s on-off lover, Caroline Ellison, 28, was CEO of Alameda Research, which was loaned billions of dollars of FTX clients’ cash to make risky investments. She had only 18 months of professional experience when she joined Alameda
Writing about her poly lifestyle, Ellison wrote on Tumblr that in a polyamorous relationship everyone should have a ‘ranking of their partners’ and ‘vicious power struggles for higher ranks.’
In another March post, she wrote: ‘I didn’t get into this as a crypto true believer. It’s mostly scams and memes when you get down to it.’
Ellison is said to have dated FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried while they and eight others involved in their companies lived together in a house in the Bahamas.
According to a report from Coindesk, all 10 of them were ‘paired up’ with each other in romantic relationships, although it’s not clear if they were monogamous or not.
In her now-deleted Tumblr, Ellison wrote under the handle Worldoptimization.
She said: ‘When I first started my foray into poly, I thought of it as a radical break from my trad past, but tbh I’ve come to decide the only acceptable style of poly is best characterized as something like ‘imperial Chinese harem’.
‘None of this non-hierarchical bulls***; everyone should have a ranking of their partners, people should know where they fall on the ranking, and there should be vicious power struggles for the higher ranks’.
On the Tumblr account, Ellison wrote that she had ‘noticed a lot of changes in my desires.’ She said she was ‘less aesthetically attracted to femininity and more to masculinity.’ Ellison is pictured in 2012
Another anonymous user asked her in a post: ‘Why is monogamy so important to you, even when you’re surrounded by people who aren’t monogamous?’
Ellison wrote that she couldn’t think of a good response.
In another post Ellison wrote what she thought were ‘some cute boy things’.
She wrote: ‘Controlling most major world governments, being responsible for many important inventions and scientific discoveries, spatial reasoning abilities, low risk aversion, sufficient strength to physically overpower you.
‘If you are a boy who is driven to succeed at ambitious goals you are valid.
‘If you are a boy who arrives at opinions through logical reasoning you are valid.
‘If you are a boy with the confidence to advocate for unconventional ideas and take actions based on them you are valid’.
In a March post, she wrote: ‘I didn’t get into this as a crypto true believer. It’s mostly scams and memes when you get down to it’
In another post Ellison wrote what she thought were ‘some cute boy things’. She wrote: ‘Controlling most major world governments, being responsible for many important inventions and scientific discoveries, spatial reasoning abilities, low risk aversion, sufficient strength to physically overpower you’
In her now-deleted Tumblr, Ellison wrote in 2020 under the handle Worldoptimization, ‘When I first started my foray into poly, I thought of it as a radical break from my trad past, but tbh I’ve come to decide the only acceptable style of poly is best characterized as something like ‘imperial Chinese harem’
On the blog Ellison appeared to jokingly complain about how growing up in the 21st century was not a good time for sex.
She wrote: ‘Born too late to have ten kids, born too soon to have four-dimensional upload orgies.’
In other posts Ellison complained about how men were ‘only supposed to care about physical attractiveness, having a sweet and submissive personality, and maybe a couple other things like chastity and cooking skill.’
She wrote: ‘But it turns out all the men who are interested in dating me only care about “intelligence” and “knowing stuff about trading” and “having good opinions on social justice” and things like that…I guess there’s probably a selection effect they were missing, isn’t there.’
On the Tumblr account, Ellison wrote that she had ‘noticed a lot of changes in my desires.’
She said she was ‘less aesthetically attracted to femininity and more to masculinity.’
She wrote: ‘I’m less hedonistic and more masochistic. I get a lot of pleasure from doing things that are hard, unpleasant, physically taxing, or emotionally painful.’
Ellison also addressed the 2008 financial crisis and appeared to be sympathetic to the plight of banks that were blamed for bringing down the world’s economic system.
She wrote: ‘I can’t think of anyone involved who makes me go ”yes what that person did should be illegal and result in going to prison for a long period of time.”
‘I think people’s first instinct is to react to these things with ”a bunch of bad stuff happened, we should make all of it illegal so it can’t happen again” when like, the problem is really a complicated mess of slightly misaligned incentives and human error rather than evil people doing clearly bad things.’
In remarks which have a new irony given the collapse of FTX, Ellison wrote: ‘And when it comes to financial regulation, I don’t even think you can assume the charitable version, because the way a lot of financial regulation actually works is ”bank does something bad, we decide after the fact that it’s bad and should probably be illegal, we fine them for something or another.”
‘Which does get around the problem that writing good financial regulation is really hard. But I’m still not a fan.’