So far the world of crypto has existed mostly on the periphery of the economy; what happens in the crypto market hasn't much affected the rest of the world. But one man was determined to change that.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old founder of crypto companies FTX and Alameda Research, made billions in just a few years, and in the process, became the face of respectability in an industry usually associated with less-than-respectable characters.
He was one of the few crypto nerds who broke through into popular culture. He, and FTX, were everywhere: he was on the cover of magazines like Fortune and Forbes, in Superbowl ads with and in ads in Vogue and The New Yorker; comedian Larry David and football star Tom Brady did ads for the company, and the stadium where the Miami Heat play was renamed the FTX Arena. And Bankman-Fried built a reputation as an elder statesman of crypto. When many crypto companies were struggling, he publicly declared that he would help bail them out.
That is, until last week, when it was revealed that the lion's share of Bankman-Fried's empire was built on FTT — the token sold by FTX, conjured out of thin air. The revelation shook investors and clients; they wanted out. The value of his companies plummeted, and there was no one to lend him a hand.
Bankman-Fried's companies — FTX and Alameda Research — filed for bankruptcy on November 11th.
We chart his rise to the top of the crypto market — with effective branding and a seemingly solid reputation — his very recent fall, and what it all means for the rest of the crypto world?
Music: "Stranger," "Cool Cats," and "Can't Get Enough."
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