back to article FTX crypto-villain Sam Bankman-Fried convicted on all charges

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of crypto exchange FTX and trading firm Alameda Research, has been found guilty of seven criminal charges. FTX was once valued at $32 billion, and Bankman-Fried was fêted as a visionary thanks in part to his willingness to spruik his firm, and crypto, to almost anyone willing to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barely more than one year ago, my employer announced a partnership with FTX.

    1. Chris Miller

      One can feel some sympathy for individual investors taken in by this scammer. But large corporate investors? Was the "too good to be true", offshore-located multi-billion dollar scheme, run apparently on a spreadsheet not showing any red flags?

      "Due diligence - we've heard of it!"

      Mind you, I know of the CEO of a British insurer who bought a Spanish company from a guy he met in a bar there. Spoiler alert: it didn't end well.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      I suppose it depends what "partnership" means in this context. For most of my employers, it could mean as little as "you bought some of our stuff and agreed to say so in public".

  2. DS999 Silver badge

    Sam Bankman Fraud

    It says a lot how quickly the jury came back with their verdict. Obviously we've heard all the prosecution's evidence for a while now but apparently his only defense was "I didn't really know what was going on in this company that made me worth $30 billion at one time". Hard to make that stick when you simultaneously have a record of claiming you're smarter than everyone else.

    Good riddance, if I live long enough to hear the news he's been released from jail hopefully I'll be in my 90s.

    1. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Sam Bankman Fraud

      I'm hoping you're not 89 now.

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Sam Bankman Fraud

      If he gets the max sentence I'll be in my hundred and sixties!

      I'd give him the full sentence for being an unremorseful pathological liar but I expect him to get 15 - 20 years tbh.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Sam Bankman Fraud

        I expect someone's already done the analysis based on the Federal sentencing guidelines. Between those and truth-in-sentencing, there really isn't a whole lot of discretion for the judge in a case like this, unless the judge really wants to go out on a limb.

        Of course, if the Orange Megalomaniac gets into the White House again, SBF may well find himself with a pardon. (Yes, he cozied up to both parties; but the optics would look a lot better for Trump than they would for Biden. Trump could play the whole "tech innovator trying to empower the ordinary people vilified and crushed by the Deep State!" story. And SBF and his gang, particularly "Queen Caroline", are beloved by the fans of authoritarianism.)

        1. train_wreck

          Re: Sam Bankman Fraud

          Nah Trump would never pardon him, he donated to Democrats.

        2. Piro Silver badge

          Re: Sam Bankman Fraud

          There's no way Trump would favour this random fraudster. What a bizarre idea.

          Nobody is sympathetic to SBF's plight, so the "everyman" angle is the exact opposite - people want financial fraudsters locked away.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Sam Bankman Fraud

      According to Molly White, his performance on the stand was pretty bad. And I expect the jurors would have been inclined to apply the "knew or should have known" standard anyway, so claiming ignorance wouldn't have gotten him far.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whats wrong with crypto

    Everything that is wrong with crypto is everything!

    It is like wandering up to someone in the street and asking them to buy some money you have just invented. You would need to point out that no, you can't actually buy anything with it and the only way to actually make a profit with it is to sell it to someone else for more actual real world currency. You could point out that one use many people have found for it is money laundering and extortion.

    The difference is that you wouldn't need to burn down a large part of the Amazon to actually make this money. Anyone who said yes though obviously needs a sensible adult to look out for their welfare. So why do people do this because crypto?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Whats wrong with crypto

      And Bernie Madoff, or the GFC shows what's wrong with dollars

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Whats wrong with crypto

      It is like wandering up to someone in the street and asking them to buy some money you have just invented. .... Anonymous Coward

      You mean it’s a copy cat clone of what government gilt markets and treasury bond auctions are all about, AC, for is that not exactly what they do too? Wow, now there’s a doozy.

      Are you're telling us, and are we now to believe, it is all wrong and not right, and just a colossal scam run by entities involved in a globalised conspiracy exercising and enjoying the rewarding but exclusive fruits of a massive, and probably to be touted as a too big to fail fraudulent crime perpetrated and perpetuated against all of humanity? Crikey, what a humdinger! Who’d have a’thunk that as being acceptable and a perfectly normal crooked way of doing business and creating businesses for growing economies.

      Is that a wrong to be put right cryptically?

      1. Dimmer Bronze badge

        Re: Whats wrong with crypto

        Re: mars,

        So it comes down to stored value:

        Paper currency, its value controlled by a government as it is backed by the faith in that government. Devalued whenever that want.

        Gold-silver, was valued by what it cost to mine. Now valued by what a bank says it is worth and controlled by issuing paper saying they will give you that value in the future.

        Stocks, value is controlled by market that has nothing to do with what the co makes or does.

        Property or asset you control, its value is largely valued on what you value it as but is costly to own as it is taxable by every bureaucrat that can.

        Crypto, supposedly valued by the cost of creating it, but in reality it appears to be valued like property.

        That is my take on stored value methods. If you desire to be wealthy beyond your dreams, come up with a way to store value of your life-time that can’t be taken or devalued. We all need a way that we can work all our lives and have something we can exchange when we no longer can work. Having to invest (gamble) your life-time value just so you can offset the attrition rate is just another scam.

        Our time is better spent fixing what is wrong with why we can’t have a true stored value than point the finger at each attempt and call each other names.

        That said, I think SBF should now be the stored value of others till he refunds the life-time value he stole of others. Hard labor for the rest of his life might be a good start.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Whats wrong with crypto

          Gold-silver, was valued by what it cost to mine.

          Quite the opposite. Whether gold or silver (or anything else - see the ups and downs of the Cornish tin industry for an example) is worth mining depends on the current price of the commodity.

          1. blackcat Silver badge

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            Gold is an interesting thing. It used to just be a heavy, soft and non-corroding metal which made it of interest in more of a novelty way and was easy to make into delicate items such as jewellery. It had some small industrial applications as well.

            Then someone decided that all currency should be based on a 'gold standard'. And then people decided that currency should be based on thin air.

            https://www.chards.co.uk/gold-price/gold-price-history

            So gold bumbles around for about 150 years not doing much, a slight increase in value as it gets more expensive to mine.

            And then the US drops off the gold standard in 1971 followed by a few other countries.

            And then it steadies out for a while until the mid 2000's when RoHS comes into force.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restriction_of_Hazardous_Substances_Directive

            Suddenly gold is in EVERY electronic device being made. And the rest is history.

            1. Dave@Home

              Re: Whats wrong with crypto

              I'm curious, as I'm having a little trouble following here.

              Are you implying the RoHS was implemented to ramp gold?

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                About 8% of Gold is used in technology. Most of that in electronics - but it's generally internal bond wires where you want the high conduction and ductility to make ultrafine wires.

                Nobody was replacing lead solder with gold bond wires, and it certainly didn't boost gold price or production

                1. blackcat Silver badge

                  Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                  RoHS had the unintended result of increasing gold usage in electronics. I don't think they introduced RoHS to hike gold prices :) In the before times gold was only used on edge connectors as it didn't oxidise like bare copper or basic tin plating.

                  Now pretty much every PCB is has every exposed pad (or even all the copper areas) gold plated as this works well with lead free solders and allows for much finer pitch components compared to the old hot air solder levelled finish that was the norm in the lead solder era. The itty bitty BGA packages used for phone chips need a VERY flat surface and the gold plated PCBs give that.

                  It is not the sole reason for the ever increasing price of gold but it is a factor. And instead of chucking lead into landfill with old electronics we are chucking small amounts of gold.

                  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                    Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                    Interesting - I assumed all the PCBs now had gold plating because we were paying a fortune for prototype boards with massive FPGAs and GPUs so they add to add a bit of bling to justify what they are charging us.

                  2. Electronics'R'Us
                    Holmes

                    Gold finish on PCBs

                    We have been using ENIG plating for decades.

                    The issue is the coplanarity of the finish. The previously popular HASL (hot air solder levelling) just isn't good enough for the vast majority of surface mount parts.

                    Some manufacturers (notably TI) have also provided parts where the lead finish is NiPdAu (Nickel Palladium Gold) for a long time; one major advantage is that this is compatible with both Tin Lead (SnPb) and lead free reflow profiles.

                    So it wasn't RoHS that pushed us into using gold on PCB surface finish - it was device geometry.

            2. nobody who matters

              Re: Whats wrong with crypto

              "............It used to just be a heavy, soft and non-corroding metal which made it of interest in more of a novelty way and was easy to make into delicate items such as jewellery. It had some small industrial applications as well.

              Then someone decided that all currency should be based on a 'gold standard'............"

              I think you may find that gold has been valued as a form of currency for many centuries before any "industrial applications" for it came into being ;)

        2. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Whats wrong with crypto

          "wandering up to someone in the street and asking them to buy some money you have just invented"

          Yes, except that the value of any currency comes from the willingness of other people to accept that value. It's ridiculous to claim for example that Bitcoin has no value simply because *you* see no value in it. It's value comes from the fact that hundreds of millions of people see value in it.

          "Crypto, supposedly valued by the cost of creating it, but in reality it appears to be valued like property."

          Because of the way eg Bitcoin is structured (particularly with high transaction fees) it is more suitable as a value store than as a transactional currency. Other cryptos have different characteristics

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            So, what can you buy with crypto?

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: Whats wrong with crypto

              More crypto!

              Checks pockets for any forgotten small change --->

            2. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: Whats wrong with crypto

              That depends. You can buy quite a few things online, and I'm not just talking about criminals' wares. For example, my domain registrar accepts Bitcoin. No, I haven't used it, and I don't know how painful it is, but they do accept it.

              That's not really the right question though. For example, I can't buy many things with pounds because I'm not in the UK. If I go into a local store and present the clerk with pounds, they'll tell me to go away. If I go to the bank, though, I can rather quickly get cash the clerk will happily accept. Just because Bitcoin is inconvenient to purchase stuff with doesn't mean that it has no value. All that means is that it's a poor currency, which it absolutely is, but that's a far more limited statement.

              1. abetancort

                Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                Pounds are only useful in England, anywhere else there are not useful even if some banks are willing to exchange it at a deep discount because they have other clients willing to purchase it at a high premium because they are going to England where they can exchange it for good or services.

                But bitcoin is worthless everywhere because it can be exchanged readily for good or services. You need a greater fool that is willing to exchange them for real currency.

                1. Lazlo Woodbine

                  Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                  "Pounds are only useful in England"

                  Not true, Pounds Sterling is the currency in the whole United Kingdom, they may have different notes in Scotland & Northern Ireland, but they're still Pounds Sterling...

                  1. nobody who matters

                    Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                    I expect he is in the USA where they seem to think that Scotland and Wales are part of England :-\

                    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                      Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                      Rubbish. Many people here think Wales are giant fish swimming around in the big blue wobbly thing.

                      (To be fair, the whole England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland1 vs United Kingdom vs Great Britain thing is a bit complicated. And many people in the US aren't terribly clear on what our own states are — there are more than a few who think New Mexico is part of Mexico, for example — so we shouldn't expect too much.)

                      1And for that matter the rest of Ireland, and then there's the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands, and ... well, you know how it is.

                2. doublelayer Silver badge

                  Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                  Pounds are useful in lots of places, but some of them find it more useful and some less. In the UK, nearly everyone accepts them. In some other countries, some people would accept them, and some would require that you exchange them first. There are many areas that get travelers from other countries that routinely accept international currencies, though the US dollar and euro are more likely to be accepted like this than the pound is. The point is that, though their usefulness depends on your location, they have value nonetheless and you can, with sufficient effort, exercise that value. Bitcoin is also inconvenient to use, so inconvenient that I don't have any, but it also has value. If you have some Bitcoin, you can give it to me and I can use it to buy stuff I want. I'll likely have to convert it into something else to do so, although that's not certain, but it will end up having value to me.

          2. Cav Bronze badge

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            Nonsense. The value of any traditional currency is that it is supported by the economy\government behind it. i.e. a real world entity. Crypto has nothing to support it.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Whats wrong with crypto

              Crypto has nothing to support >

              - except user demand.

              i can sell an original Beatles single for a lot more than a Venezuelan / Argentinian / Turkish note - in spite of having no government behind it.

              Of course i can also make up a crypocurrency, and have about as much success selling it as my own original unreleased Karaoke single

              1. iron Silver badge

                Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                Unlike your crypto that Beatles single can be played so it has actual utility beyond its supposed value.

                Also Beatles singles are not currency so your analogy is nonsensical and invalid.

                1. doublelayer Silver badge

                  Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                  "Also Beatles singles are not currency so your analogy is nonsensical and invalid."

                  No, the analogy works. We're debating two parts of Bitcoin. There is its usefulness as a currency, which I think most people here agree is low. However, that's not what we were talking about. We were talking about whether it has value and where that value comes from. A lot of things that aren't currencies have value, and we all agree on that. After all, I expect that your savings doesn't mostly take the form of cash in a box, but rather financial instruments which are worth money and may produce money. You can't buy anything with a bond or share, but those things have value which can be turned into cash. You can't buy stuff with a house either, and turning it into cash takes a long time and the specific amount of cash you'd get isn't easy to calculate. It also has value. Bitcoin also has that power, meaning it also has some value.

                  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                    Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                    Exactly, bitcoin as a way to trade without having to pay Visa/Mastercard/Paypal or be beholden to the USD has failed. In the same way gold has, try buying a house with gold.

                    Bitcoin has become (like Gold) a commodity to gamble on the price changing. So the volatility now makes it worse as a store of value than classic records or baseball cards.

                  2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                    Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                    It's still not a good analogy. The Beatles single has use-value for a significant market — people who like to listen to Beatles songs, people who like to collect records, and so on — as well as exchange-value. Currencies that aren't specie usually don't have use-value, or at least their use-value is considerably more limited and specialized (flashing cash as a form of social signaling, for example). They're intended to serve as pure fungible tokens of exchange.

                    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                      Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                      Very few currencies are fungible.

                      We are nearly at war over the ability to pay for oil in anything other than portraits of Ben Franklin.

                      Try buying your Chelsea mansion in Roubles right now, or pricing your ARM IPO in GBP

                      1. doublelayer Silver badge

                        Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                        "We are nearly at war over the ability to pay for oil in anything other than portraits of Ben Franklin."

                        No, we're not. People can and do buy it with their own currencies. It does happen that they often choose to denominate the prices in dollars so that, if Russia sells some to India, they don't have to deal with the question of what happens when the exchange rate changes or whose ruble exchange rate you use, but India doesn't have to turn their rupees into dollars before sending them to Russia as long as they've agreed on something else to use.

                        "Try buying your Chelsea mansion in Roubles right now,"

                        You can do that. You probably have to exchange them for pounds first, and you'll probably find that UK banks don't want rubles as much as they once did, but you can do it.

                        "or pricing your ARM IPO in GBP"

                        ARM chooses the currency they want to use. They could have chosen to do it in pounds and list it in the UK. The reason they didn't is because they chose not to, not because they couldn't or someone external to their ownership refused them permission.

            2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

              Re: Whats wrong with crypto

              It does help that the person in charge is does not spook the horses (markets), as Truss did last year

          3. Persona Silver badge

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            It's value comes from the fact that hundreds of millions of people see value in it.

            True, which is why the fools who own crypto really need to hype it and shout how good it is to encourage greater fools to buy, which pushes up the price and allows the slightly smarter fools to exit the market with real money in their pocket. Unless it all goes horribly wrong, as it so often does.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Whats wrong with crypto

              See also: sports cars, handbags that cost as much as a car, paintings that cost lots more than sportscars (even if not of a sports car?)

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                Except those also have use-value. Try driving a Bitcoin, or keeping your makeup in one, or hanging one on the living room wall to please your eye or impress your friends.

                Many goods have use-values that are inflated in most people's estimation, true; but that doesn't mean they have no use-value at all.

                Veblen goods complicate the picture a bit, but you can assign their "excess" use-value to a combination of psychological reward for the owner and social-signaling benefit. Then the price premium delivers a corresponding use-value for the owner (even if it makes many of us feel said owner might be a bit of an ass). But, again, it's hard to parade cryptocurrency around, because it's "just numbers". You could wear a t-shirt that said "I own da39a3ee5e6b4b0d3255bfef95601890afd80709!" but the target audience for that is vanishingly small.

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Whats wrong with crypto

        Oh. It's you again.

        Well, just for the record, when governments issue gilts or treasuries they have the ability to tax an entire economy backing their promise to pay. When crypto companies issue tokens they have no means at all of paying, and rely entirely on greater fools being prepared to buy the tokens.

        It's not the same thing at all.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Oh, It’s you and them again, Greater Fools ‘r’ US

          Well, just for the record, when governments issue gilts or treasuries they have the ability to tax an entire economy backing their promise to pay. When crypto companies issue tokens they have no means at all of paying, and rely entirely on greater fools being prepared to buy the tokens.

          It's not the same thing at all. .... Ian Johnston

          Quite șo, Ian J, I agree it's not the same thing at all, although surely we are not going to disagree that both vitally require, for immediate failure is guaranteed otherwise, identically similar greater fools prepared to pay/buy into the promises made by remote and oft crooked and extremely badly informed and even deliberately misinformed and disinforming and easily pwned individuals/entities hosted and posting and being given at any time on main stream media without which they would wither on the vine and die, both dubious popular and unpopular, constantly conflicted credibility as offices/officers of a state/group of states/country/group of countries/government/cabal of conspiring wannabe mobsters/banksters ....... whatever the true actual case may be in worlds of smoke and mirrors, deep alternative states and underground movements and dark webs. ...... supporting such activities as we agree are not the same thing at all but are entirely reliant on greater fools being groomed.

      3. mpi Silver badge

        Re: Whats wrong with crypto

        > Wow, now there’s a doozy.

        There is none.

        Government issued money, and thus government issued financial products, have BACKING. That backing, since we got rid of the gold standard, is the entire economic power of a nation, or even a group of nations in the case of group-currencies like the Euro.

        "Crypto" (even the name is nonsense, because other than using cryptographically secure hashes and signatures, "crypto" has as much to do with cryptography as any other system that uses these technologies...how about instead of https we call it http-CRYPTO or TLCRYPTO instead of TLS? :D) has no backing. None, zero, zilch, nada, nothing.

        Because it has no backing, it also has no intrinsic value. It also has no intrinsic use (because it isn't legal tender outside of El Salvador and the CAR). It its literally "money someone came up with", some people ask some other people to buy for real money.

        So no, "crypto" has no similarty to financial products that use actual money.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Whats wrong with crypto

          One minor correction: the CAR dropped its Bitcoin-as-legal-tender experiment after a year.

          1. mpi Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            Oh, thanks for that info. I stand corrected!

            So it's just El Salvador now then?

        2. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Whats wrong with crypto

          "BACKING"

          Exactly. And ultimately that backing is the use of force: something more within the reach of governments than a disparate group of investors.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            Your Reichsmarks / confederate dollars / Japanese Invasion currency worth much ?

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: Whats wrong with crypto

              Well, no, which is rather the point of the post you were replying to. Have I mis-understood?

          2. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            No, the use of force isn't so relevant to the value of a currency. Its rarity and the usefulness of it in a market are much more relevant.

            Costa Rica has no military. Really, they abolished it. They're very proud of that. Their ability to use force is pretty low. Meanwhile, North Korea has a huge army. It's armed with all sorts of weapons because they've made little else for the past fifty years, it's the fourth largest in the world by number of troops, unless you count paramilitary organizations, in which case it's the largest. They have nuclear weapons. If they want something to happen in the country, they're virtually guaranteed to get it.

            If I offer you the option, which one do you want? Some Costa Rican colónes or North Korean won? There is a right answer.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Whats wrong with crypto

              The police are still a repository of force, and generally matter much more to citizens of a nation than the military.

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: Whats wrong with crypto

                North Korea has far more police as well, and they're much more powerful since they can give out death sentences basically at will. It still doesn't make their currency valuable. This is the case because North Korea's population doesn't generate much value due to aforementioned military and police using them as slaves, so there's little to buy with the won you could have. Use of force is the wrong metric here.

        3. Dimmer Bronze badge

          Re: Whats wrong with crypto

          Re: mpi,

          Last time I checked I have to pay for an SSL cert from verisign.

          I know this is not in your statement context but it is paying for crypto services.

          1. mpi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            alright, that made me smile :-)

      4. 43300 Silver badge

        Re: Whats wrong with crypto

        "You mean it’s a copy cat clone of what government gilt markets and treasury bond auctions are all about, AC, for is that not exactly what they do too? Wow, now there’s a doozy."

        Sure, fiat currencies are volatile and the lack of controls on banks creating money especially is dangerous, but at least national fiat currencies are backed up the economy of the country itself. Crypto is backed up by nothing more than wishful thinking.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Whats wrong with crypto @43300

          ...but at least national fiat currencies are backed up the economy of the country itself. ....... 43300

          Absolute balderdash, 43300. They maybe should be backed up by the economy of a country, for that is the myth perpetuated, but it is not vital if you can persuade fools to believe what you would spin them about your mounting global debt and expanding annual deficit spending not mattering a jot with compound interest payments to ...... well, who does supply all the credit creating even greater debt and deficit spending and where do they get it all from?

          It’s a racket, isn’t it.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto @43300

            A racket which can't hack it in the real world where intelligence and pure common sense entertain main stream media with tall truthful tales of manic misdemeanours and perverse panic in systems outed as corrupt and corrupting, bankrupt and bankrupting.

            Read about them here ....... https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/macleod-future-fiat ....... and weep.

          2. 43300 Silver badge

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto @43300

            It is a racket, but the fact remains that fiat currencies are backed up by the national economy as the central banks are responsible for the currency. Hence in 2009 we saw the banks bailed out, whereas a crypto business (like FTX) just goes bust.

            There might well be a major crash in not too many years when the debt bubble becomes too big for even national economies to prevent it from bursting spectacularly, but that simply indicates that it has become too big for national economies to support (due to poor regulation). Traditional fiat currencies are of course not immune from problems by any means, but they are a lot more stable than crypto.

      5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Whats wrong with crypto

        I haven't seen this may down votes for a post by amanfromMars 1 for quite awhile.

        At least it is reassuring to know that he's still "got it"/in good health

    3. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Re: Whats wrong with crypto

      Dude A: "You've put your money into crypto-currencies? Why?

      Dude B: "I'm gonna be rich!"

      Dude A: "Do you know how many crypto-currency scams there have been so far? Just look at https://web3isgoinggreat.com ! They have a timeline of bad-shit crypto-currency events."

      Dude B: "That's just the government's attempt to cover up the real power of crypto -- the secret they don't want you to know. But I know the truth, and I'm gonna be rich!"

      Dude A: "Whatever. You can buy the first round, Mister Future Rich Guy."

      1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Re: Whats wrong with crypto

        I sort of agree with you. The part that doesn't is the bit that knows early adopters (just as in all Ponzi schemes) did make money - the poor suckers coming along later probably didn't.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Whats wrong with crypto

          Yes: I kind of regret not putting US$100 into bitcoin just for fun when it first became available. It would have been a silly gamble, but this particular gamble would have allowed me to retire years ago.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            Unless of course you got greedy and HODL or got scammed, ripped off, had your "wallet" compromised, or any number of other dodgy dealings against which you have no recourse other than to pray that someone was kind enough to return it.

          2. Dimmer Bronze badge

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            $500 for stellar net out years later was $300k for me and $125k for the government in the way of taxes.

            The governments are the ones making a killing on this.

            I have seen guys trade up till the last day of Dec and the value dropped the next month. In 3 months it was so low that they lost their home because they could not pay the UNREALIZED gains from the previous year. They tax you on unrealized gains but will not allow you to take unrealized losses. Look it up, it will really piss you off.

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Whats wrong with crypto

        That sounds like the couple mentioned in a youtube video I saw yesterday by "black belt barrister".

        They were so convinced the scam they were falling for was legit, they even lied to their bank who kept telling them they were being scammed!

        https://youtu.be/gJOVhqdpf1U

        1. BartyFartsLast

          Re: Whats wrong with crypto

          Grab someone by the emotions, back up their own base beliefs, it's incredibly difficult to convince them they've been conned.

          See:

          Crypto,

          Antivax

          Covid denial

          Brexiters,

          MAGA,

          The list is endless

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            The sad fact is that human beings, broadly speaking, are highly vulnerable to con games. That's not surprising; we've documented a large number of common (pretty much universal, for neurotypical people) psychological traps, and we've had a long time to improve con games.

            Some years back there was a company treasurer in Michigan who embezzled a large sum of money to participate in a classic 419 scam. That's someone with training in finance and a professional fiduciary duty breaking the law and throwing everything away for one of the simplest and daftest schemes being run.

            People can make an effort to be rational, and even succeed at it much of the time, but it's a lot of work. It's easier to inculcate suspicion, cynicism, and pessimism, and assume everyone might be lying or wrong at any given moment.

          2. lamp

            Re: Whats wrong with crypto

            My perception is that crypto, dark web, criminals, child porn etc are often to be found as companions. So, to be avoided at all costs.

      3. Bebu Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Whats wrong with crypto

        Lesson: don't bother with arguing with these loose wingnuts just fast forward to...

        "You can buy the first round, Mister Future Rich Guy."

        Make mine a pint of Old Peculier :)

  4. Peter Prof Fox

    Corporate incompetence? Or...

    Goodness no we mustn't have that naughty red tape to restrict our capitalist heroes from bleeding their victims. Rich people == good. Poor people... Meh.

    There were plenty of suspicions about Enron and lunacy crypto operations. This isn't some mega corporations fighting others but blatant lack of accountability.

    Unfortunately in the UK we have the same 'keep the greed rolling' attitude from government as the US.

    1. Andy 73 Silver badge

      Re: Corporate incompetence? Or...

      It seems to me to be a bit of a myth that regulations are magically the answer, or that these people are not subject to them. There are plenty of legal structures in place to deal with most of the fraud and dodgy practises in the crypto and other arenas. People do get found out and prosecuted.

      The point to realise is that regulations, and laws are not "instant". They don't have the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, and on the whole we don't want to prevent all new economic activity (or any economic activity at all) until we have absolute proof it's all going to end well.

      It can take months, years or even decades before the protective systems you think will protect us to actually respond. No amount of additional 'red tape' will increase that speed. In fact it will probably reduce it. This isn't greed - it's just the fact that when something new happens, we can't just respond to our knee jerk impulses and ban it.

      On the other hand, the wider community has a responsibility to approach such schemes with scepticism and a critical eye. The reason FTX is such a big deal is not that it was a particularly clever or novel fraud - SBF has been convicted of very normal conspiracy and wire fraud charges. The big thing was that FTX was allowed to grow and gain a veneer of legitimacy in incredibly short time - magazine covers, high profile actors and politicians, sponsorship deals, and a significant part of the tech industry cheering them on and desperately pumping the idea that blockchain, crypto and digital assets are somehow different.

      This isn't greed, it's just people being fearful of "not getting it", or being seen to be wrong when they point out the Emperor has no clothes. And sheer economic stupidity. When Musk claims that everyone owning a Tesla will be able to make back it's full cost in a year as a robotaxi, instead of pointing out that this is nonsense we have people breathlessly repeating that tech "changes everything".

      If you want to ban something, ban stupidity. It's by far the biggest problem we're facing right now.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Jack, on the other hand, was lucky

    His magic beans actually bore fruit.

    Although, at the expense of an over-tall gentleman.

  6. Anonymous Anti-ANC South African Coward

    Wankman-Fraud...

    ...got his just desserts at last.

    But it is cold comfort to those who've lost everything.

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Wankman-Fraud...

      But it is cold comfort to those who've lost everything.

      My sympathy for greedy fools is limited.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Wankman-Fraud...

        If only they were all greedy fools. There were plenty of people who simply didn't have adequate knowledge and were mislead by others. I'm not inclined to blame victims, superior though it might make me feel.

        (I'm quite capable of feeling superior for other reasons, fortunately.)

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Wankman-Fraud...

      His on/off girlfriend should have gone down for it as well. The plea deal she was offered was ridiculous... Does she have rich, well-to-do parents?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Wankman-Fraud...

        "The plea deal she was offered was ridiculous"

        Maybe, maybe not. However, in twenty years the only thing people will remember is that the ring-leader got nailed for a zillion years and the fine article implies that her testimony helped ensure that.

        As far as the prosecutor is concerned, the legal system as a game where you are happy with a fairly high score and really want to avoid a very low score, so their strategy makes sense.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Wankman-Fraud...

        Well, under the deal, Ellison had to forfeit any profits, and can still be prosecuted for tax fraud. More importantly, to the prosecutors, she would almost certainly have made a much more sympathetic defendant and so might have swayed a jury. In interviews even before the FTX/Alameda collapse she was pretty good at coming across as an enthusiastic follower and not perhaps the brightest sort — hardly the truth, given her background as a quant, but appearance counts for a lot in the courtroom.

        So they traded Ellison to get SBF. That's how the justice system in the US works.

  7. BartyFartsLast

    code is fraud

    Will be amusing to see how the Ponzi markets react to the (obvious) guilty verdict.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: code is fraud

      Will they react at all? When you have daily rug pulls and broken contracts being exploited, I think the cryptocurrency markets are pretty much reality-proof. People will keep pouring money in as long as they're around.

  8. Andy 73 Silver badge

    Not just corporate incompetence

    Many people were involved with SBF and FTX - particularly tech and financial journalists in America, and some pretty high up figures in the 'more reputable' industries.

    Those people failed to apply any serious critical analysis to FTX, or to Bankman-Fried's behaviour. In particular, behaviour on his part that showed a complete disregard for responsibility, professional behaviour or moderation. I'm the last one to insist on "professionalism", but in the case of a CEO handling tens of billions of dollars of other people's money.. it's kinda necessary.

    The people who put him on the cover of Forbes, Fortune and the Financial Times yet apparently did no due-diligence should be seriously questioned. The signs were all there from the very earliest of days, yet all critical faculties were suspended "because rich". There are still "reputable" financial commentators who describe him as a genius, when all that is actually on display is a sociopathic frat boy bullshitting about technology. Astonishingly, the inability for those people to think rationally about technology and money is now being applied wholesale to the AI industry... here we go again.

    The highlight of the trial for me was someone finally actually describing him in the way he appeared to be from the earliest days of FTX: "an evasive little dickhead".

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Not just corporate incompetence

      All true. It's amazing how far you can go with rich parents who buy you into a famous university. See most of British politics for further depressing examples.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Not just corporate incompetence

        See most of British politics for further depressing examples.

        For fine examples of the Oxbridge educated giving the country the best from their education, tune into the proceedings of the Covid Public Inquiry...

        https://covid19.public-inquiry.uk/

    2. My-Handle

      Re: Not just corporate incompetence

      "Astonishingly, the inability for those people to think rationally about technology and money is now being applied wholesale to the AI industry... here we go again."

      Quite a few of our (the UK's) political figures are currently engaged in an AI summit, to try and figure out how AI will affect the course of humanity. Given how much most politicians know about tech, that sounds about as effective as a bunch of brickies discussing the finer points of quantum physics down at the pub. Ol' Musky also got involved, finding an ear to fill with his "AI will doom us all" opinions. Now, he could be entirely right, but currently I wouldn't be assuming that his is an informed opinion. Not with the other claptrap he's been pushing around Twitter.

      1. JimC

        Re: Given how much most politicians know about tech,

        Well maybe, but, especially in this context let's note how useful 'crypto experts' discussing the finer points of digital currency have been, or for that matter how much use the majority of financial experts were in the lead up to the banking crash.

        No-one can be expert in everything, and in our political system politicians move around between utterly different roles so often that most probably they can't be expert in anything. My own argument is that the key skill a politician needs is the ability to spot bull***t and know which people to listen to. To what extent they have that ability is of course debatable. One thing's for certain though, there's no shortage of self appointed 'experts' queueing up in front of them, not to mention the dangerous phenomenon of activists who claim to be experts, but who are always going to, quite possibly unknowingly, present dogma as fact..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Given how much most politicians know about tech,

          the key skill a politician needs is the ability to spot bull***t and know which rich people to listen to

          Corrected for you

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not just corporate incompetence

        Don't forget that when EM says "AI will doom us all", he obviously excludes the AI he heavily invests into...

  9. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    It's impressive how quickly and efficiently the Americans moved on this. The Coindesk article which revealed that most of Alameda's claimed assets were FTT tokens came out on 2/11/22 and the verdict came on 2/11/23. In Britain the FCA would only just now be wondering if an investigation was worthwhile and if they did bring charges, in about ten years' time, they would foul up the case

    1. Jon 37

      It helped that SBF asked for a speedy trial. Apparently people have the legal right to do that in the US.

      1. blackcat Silver badge

        There were also people baying for blood on this and there are some US politicians who have a serious axe to grind when it comes to crypto.

    2. Vincent Ballard

      On the other hand, five months from guilty verdict to sentencing seems like an enormous gap.

  10. Szymon Kosecki

    He's definitely fried now... But he was never a bankman /s

  11. xanadu42
    Facepalm

    Bank Man Fried

    Doesn't the name say it all?

  12. Jason Hindle

    Are we taking bets on how long Bankman-Fraud will go down for?

    The only thing stopping the prosecutor from asking for the Chair is a little thing called the law, and the prosecutor will have half an eye on their next political office.

    Also, does the US do jail for posh people (like the so-called open prisons we have here) or is it next stop Super Max?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are we taking bets on how long Bankman-Fraud will go down for?

      "does the US do jail for posh people (like the so-called open prisons we have here) or is it next stop Super Max?"

      Supermax prisons are for violent prisoners. This being a federal case he will likely end up in one of these prisons:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_United_States_federal_prisons

      Since SBF is a non-violent, but a probable flight risk - possibly having stashed millions - his place of incarceration won't be minimum security (ie. open prison).

  13. Miss Config
    Thumb Up

    Exception That Proves The Rule

    At least SBF is the only crooked executive in the crypto community.

    Now that they've got the one rotten apple out of the barrel, the cryptocurrency market can go on making big profits for everybody.

  14. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    There you

    go.

    rip off the little people (even lots of little people) and the fraud squad goes 'meh'

    Rip off the rich but dumb ("hey this scheme will avoid tax AND pay 20%pa") and your ass is going straight to jail for a long long time

    See B madoff for more details.... vs Apple inc when it come to battery usage in their older products......

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: There you

      1, Don't fight a land war in Asia

      2, Don't go up against a Sicilian of death is on the line

      3, If you are going to do crime - don't pick victims who are rich and well connected in the country you live in

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: There you

        And... don't piss off Putin

  15. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
    Trollface

    >>That's cold comfort to investors whose faith in the growth of digital assets with no intrinsic value saw them trust FTX to make them money.

    It may be cold for them, but I am warm in the cozy glow of unmitigated Schadenfreude

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      He wasn't robbing little old ladies (they don't have enough money) you had to do a lot of high level money stuff as a US citizen to even be able to invest

      Ironically if he was a master criminal this would have been a good tactic. ie. Hey, this stuff is so good the Feds won't let you invest, you have to buy crypto and move it to this secret Swiss account and then burn all your records to get into my scheme.

      Ironically I think he was really just a twat = the rules don't apply to me cos I'm brilliant so I have to go to a dodgy off-shore tax-haven where I don't have to worry about rules. He broke the law, but not in a Bernie Madoff way, more in a "I have an infallible system to beat the casino" way

      1. blackcat Silver badge

        "I think he was really just a twat"

        Very fair assessment!

        The sad thing was the media and other tech-bros fawning over him. 'Oh wow he is so cool cos he was playing a computer game during the interview' or 'he has a fidget spinner'. Sequoia are now busy distancing themselves from FTX/SBF claiming they were scammed but the reality is they were pumping money into FTX as the next big thing. The thought of a nice profit bypassed reason and due diligence.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          And super-ironically one of the things he 'invested' in turned out to be such a massive hit (for the sake of my sanity I didn't follow this) that he made have actually made a profit overall !

          Which suggests that: 1, There is a wise all-powerful benevolent God, 2, they either take a lot of drugs or are just doing the universe for laughs

  16. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Tap the brakes here

    I get the feeling that this is just the beginning, queue the appeal. Rich guilty people always appeal. That's what the rich is for…

    1. nobody who matters

      Re: Tap the brakes here

      "........queue the appeal........"

      Because everybody is lining him up for a long sentence??

  17. aerogems Silver badge
    Trollface

    Look at the bright side

    Now people may forget about Bernie Madoff and focus on the new wunderkind of investment fraud.

    1. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Look at the bright side

      No Bernie was a real pro. He kept his Ponzi scheme running for at least 18 and possibly 30+ years .

  18. spireite Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Boom..

    This result surprised absolutely nobody, and if SBF ever thought he'd get off, he was deluded and detached from reality. It was only ever going to go one way.

    .

    No doubt the plea deals and testimony of his co-conspirators Wang and Ellison helped plunge the knife in a little deeper, but the result was going to be the same I think without them.

    There will be others....

  19. Mitoo Bobsworth

    Hmmmm...

    I'd be just as concerned about the idiots, especially the rich ones, who took him at his word without practicing any due diligence. SBF's venture had the hallmarks of all the other 'miracle dividend' outfits of the past - the fantastic returns, the conspicuous publicity, and especially the fawning press/media articles. I guess wilful ignorance & short sighted greed never changes.

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmm...

      We're talking about Silly-con valley here.

      Theranos? Juicero?

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