Sam Bankman-Fried: The crypto mogul whose empire came crashing down


Sam Bankman-Fried on Friday resigned from his role as chief executive of FTX and the crypto exchange said it will initiate bankruptcy proceedings in the United States, capping off a tumultuous week for the industry.

Following are some facts about the co-founder and former CEO:

Born in 1992, Sam Bankman-Fried grew up in California. As a high school student, he attended the Canada/USA Mathcamp, a summer program for mathematically proficient students that also counts his future business partner Gary Wang among its alumni.

Bankman-Fried later graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in physics. He traded currencies, futures and exchange-traded funds for Jane Street Capital.

After a more than three-year stint at the New York-based firm, he moved to crypto trading and founded Alameda Research in 2017. Besides trading major cryptocurrencies, the company also dabbled in other digital asset products and their derivatives.

More than a year and a half after starting Alameda, Bankman-Fried teamed up with Gary Wang, a former software engineer at Google and a fellow MIT graduate, to start FTX. The company offered trading on crypto tokens and derivatives, while also boasting of a robust risk management system. Bankman-Fried, often referred to by his initials SBF, brought Binance on board as FTX’s first investor.

Bankman-Fried was based in Hong Kong, where his company was headquartered earlier. Last year, he moved to the Bahamas when FTX decided to shift its headquarters to the archipelago nation.

Before the FTX collapse wiped out most of SBF’s wealth, he was one of the richest people in the digital asset industry. Forbes estimates his net worth to have peaked at $26.5 billion amid a wave of institutional adoption that pumped up crypto prices to record highs last year.

After a liquidity crisis at his companies, his net worth is now reported to be around $991 million.

Data released ahead of the U.S. midterm elections showed he was the sixth-largest political donor, having contributed $39.8 million with the vast majority going to help Democrats.

National Football League quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen took stakes in FTX last year. The company also signed NBA star Steph Curry as an ambassador.

In February, pop star Katy Perry posted on Instagram, “im quitting music and becoming an intern for @ftx_official ok”, reportedly after a chat with SBF the day before.