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FTX’s Crypto Empire Was Run By a Bunch of Roommates in the Bahamas


  • CoinDesk reported Thursday that FTX was run by a “cabal of roommates.”
  • These roommates also were reportedly in and out of dating relationships with each other.
  • CoinDesk also leaked the balance sheet that led to the unraveling of SBF’s empire.

This story was originally published on Business Insider.



Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images/Business Insider

Sam Bankman-Fried

As falls further down the mineshaft, the publication that helped to launch his descent is throwing more fuel on the fire.

Earlier this month, crypto news site CoinDesk leaked a balance sheet that showed that Bankman-Fried’s two endeavors — crypto exchange FTX and trading firm Alameda Research — has assets that were largely wrapped up in FTT, the in-house crypto token of FTX.

With the crypto market already on shaky ground, CoinDesk’s revelation set off a panic among traders. The price of FTT came crashing down, as did Bankman-Fried’s fortune.

On Thursday, CoinDesk unearthed more secrets about the inner workings of Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire, including the untraditional makeup of his inner circle.

“The whole operation was run by a gang of kids in the Bahamas,” CoinDesk reported, citing a source who was familiar with the matter.

The publication said that several current and former employees of FTX and Alameda Research agreed to speak about their experiences on the condition of anonymity.

Those sources told CoinDesk that both operations were run by Bankman-Fried’s inner circle of 10 roommates. All of them either are — or have been — paired up in romantic relationships with one another, CoinDesk reported. The consensus among all the sources was that “It’s a place full of conflicts of interest, nepotism and lack of oversight,” CoinDesk reported.

Among the named members of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle were Caroline Ellison, Alameda’s current CEO. Ellison was the only employee CoinDesk singled out for having reportedly dated Bankman-Fried at one point, but no other specific past or present relationships were disclosed. The publication noted that Ellison did not respond to their request for a comment.

Others included Gary Wang, FTX’s co-founder and chief technology officer, and Nishad Singh, FTX’s director of engineering.

“They’ll do anything for each other,” one source told the publication regarding Bankman-Fried, Wang, and Singh.

The publication also noted that most of the 10 roommates were either Bankman-Fried’s college friends from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or former colleagues from Jane Street.

Some employees outside Bankman-Fried’s inner circle noted that they were shocked by the events of the past week.

“Some employees kept their life savings on FTX,” an anonymous source told CoinDesk. “We trusted that everything was fine.”

FTX and Alameda didn’t immediately respond to an Insider request for comment.

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