257 points by pranshum
4 days ago
I looked into this. They used to do business as Geniome Bank, and their job ads are for "crypto and marijuana". Almost no publicity, though they sponsored a few marijuana events.
Chalopin usually shies away from press, so his personal involvement is odd. His son is also the chief digital officer of the company.
Another curiosity is the old Farmington team is still there, including the presdient, and they still appear to be making agricultural loans, same as they've done for ~150 years.
The Geniome/Moonstone operations appear to be based out of Seattle. Another curiosity not mentioned in this article is that Noah Perlman, COO of Gemini, is on the board of directors along with Chalopin.
"Geniome" is the trademark of a UK based company also owned by Deltec/Chalopin: IFSG. So, Chalopin has an unusal degree of personal involvement here.
Deltec previously invested in a small bank for money laundering purposes, so that could have been what they were going after here, but the amounts seem small. Could have been part of a larger plan which collapsed with FTX.
They're scrubbing employee Linkedin's now.
> "Geniome" is the trademark of a UK based company also owned by Deltec/Chalopin: IFSG. So, Chalopin has an unusal degree of personal involvement here.
And Deltec is a centerpiece behind the tether (USDT)/Bitfinex scam.
People who actually described the Alameda/FTX ponzi scam for what it was since day one have always said it: Alameda/FTX is just a front set up by tether/Bitfinex, made to precisely hide more market manipulation.
The links are becoming clearer: the top lawyers at respectively both Bitfinex and FTX used to be colleagues who... Worked at a firm convicted of fraud for they stole $50 million out of players in an online poker scam (the operator could see the players' cards and would play against them). FTX was, conveniently, a few streets away from Deltec in the Bahamas.
Everything checks out: countless "little" companies to try to funnel the money out of the US (including small banks which, as is now a fact, shared/exchanged between tether and FTX), the Bahamas, the lawyers...
It's a little gang who all know each other very well.
Now I don't think they thought FTX would fall but they had the setup made so that should it fall, it'd act as a fuse shielding tether/Deltec.
How do you know any of this?
Well, the Protos Papers established that FTX/Alameda were Tether's largest customer. And they acquired 36 billion Tethers.
Now Alameda is proven to be a fraud. So, this basically eliminates the possiblity that they paid cash for those Tethers.
Also, Tether admitted to lying in its settlement with the New York Attorney General
Alameda was proven to be a fraud? By whom? Is there a chance they broke fiduciary duties and let themselves get wildly over leveraged, even criminally so, but that they had legitimate aspects of their business? How would anyone know that at this point?
Most of the commentary seems to be more conspiratorial (and certainly more fun) than anything.
I mean, Enron was pretty cut and dry. Dog and pony show, cook the books and team up with one of the big public auditors.
This story, within just a few days, had people making all sorts of complex interconnections amongst a whole fleet of co-conspirators.
They represented themselves as a crypto exchange where you traded cryptos with other users. In actuality they took all the cryptos away and lost them. So all of the "trades" happening for at the least many months were not real trades, as there were no actual assets trading hands.
That's a bucket shop, a version of financial fraud. This....is not that complicated.
So, the question then is: do you trust a bucket shop to have been recklessly dishonest about whether the trades happening were actual trades, but scrupulously honest about sending $36 billion real dollars to Tether?
Ok, so first off, that first link that you posted was to a website called Protos. Oh, I did this by hand, so I might have miscounted, but I'll write up some software and start documenting the graph of all of these allegations on the plane tomorrow... The article contained 23 links. 13 of those links were to other articles on Protos. Of the remaining 10, the only primary sources I could find were:
And then a broken link to something on https://eservices.mas.gov.sg
I can't seem to piece together the same narrative as you have from these primary sources.
Maybe there are more primary sources in those links. As soon as I enlist a computer to do this work for me I'll know.
I was not aware that FTX was a bucket shop, ie, never delivered any of the traded assets and was just pure gambling. Do you have a primary source on this?
The allegations that FTX were engaging in fraudulent accounting practices seems pretty strong at this point. The allegations that FTX were misusing customer's commodities seems pretty strong at this point.
The allegations that involve a complex web of many different characters acting as co-conspirators all seem pretty weak at this point.
The better question is: do you trust a complex web of secondary source material?
Protos is a news agency. The primary source of their report is the blockchain. You're free to replicate their work or try to falsify it by pulling the same transactions they did and verifying their work. To date, no one has disputed what they published, including Tether and Alamedia/FTX.
A bucket shop is a place that says it is executing trades but is not, in fact, executing trades and is instead trading in phony assets. FTX did not have the assets on hand, as it had given them to Alameda. This is the definition of a bucket shop.
The source is FTX, they said they had given away their customer funds and didn't have them. What more do you want?
Do they have a link to their methods used in their report or a link to all of the transactions or other data used to generate their charts? Am I wrong to expect the same rigor that a court or an academic publication would apply?
What FTX has said is basically "we used customer's commodities like a bank would. we lent them out to a trading firm that we also operate and we really hoped that we'd cover these trades". This is fundamentally no different than how banks operate but with a key difference: They didn't seem to make this known to any parties and they seemed to be massively over-leveraged. I have no problem with these activities being illegal. This is not the same thing as a bucket shop.
And I still don't know what any of this has to do with $36 billion worth of Tether, Deltec, Chalopin, Bitfinex, Geniome, Moonstone... and that's just the threads mentioned in this brief discourse we've been having! Every time I ask questions the plot thickens!
So what more do I want? I want sobriety. I want people to ask themselves why they are interested in this story. I want to people to ask themselves why they are writing articles, tweeting, making YouTube videos and posting comments about this story. I want to see primary source material and I want intellectual rigor. I want to see justice served and that is founded on notions of individuals being innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I want to see no gossip, no speculation, no mentions of how things are convenient, no things appearing a certain way.
They detailed their methods in greater detail here: https://protos.com/faq-tether-usdt-investigation/
This isn't a criminal proceeding. But no one has rebutted Protos despite ample opportunity. And Tether specifically cited FTX as a major customer on multiple occasions. It's hardly a radical claim.
> ""we used customer's commodities like a bank would. we lent them out to a trading firm that we also operate and we really hoped that we'd cover these trades".
FTX wasn't a bank, it was a brokerage. Brokerages do not lend out customer funds in this manner! In a regulated brokerage, the customer owns the securities traded. If the brokerage goes bust, they have the claim to them.
I know that FTX wasn't a bank. I was just loosely summarizing their remarks. I also know that this is not a good thing to be doing. What I don't know is what else they were doing. And neither do you. I'm sure that when this goes to trial that this will all be sorted out.
I know it isn't a criminal proceeding but to me that isn't an excuse for a lack of rigor in any discussion. Why not the Kardashians if we want to have a little fun trash talking strangers online?
I'm actually not very interested in the "Protos Papers" because I still have no idea what that has to do with FTX misusing customer commodities! If it is being used to speculate that they were pumping and dumping other coins or some other fraudulent behavior I am still not interested. Why? Because it is speculation! The courts will figure it out! Why are there so many people "doing research" like it's QAnon or something?
I'll get to the meat of it: I see the current media ecosystem as being a conspiracy theory generating machine and as every day goes by more people that I interact with are finding some kind of rabbit hole to get lost in, speaking of things as objective facts when they have never left their living rooms and their only source of information is an array of pixels sitting on their lap or held in the palm of their hands.
Alameda traded using insider advanced knowledge of what coins FTX would list and delist. "The scale at which Alameda has been frontrunning FTX listings is "much, much greater" than what we've seen before in crypto"
You literally created an account just to respond to my questions?
Anyways. The article you linked to is titled “Alameda Allegedly Traded These 18 Tokens on Insider Info Through FTX”. The operative word being “allegedly”. Also this is just another thread and has nothing to do with any of the previously mentioned co-conspirators.
>FTX was, conveniently, a few streets away from Deltec in the Bahamas.
Nassau is not very big, it's hardly surprising that two big companies working in finance would be close to each other.
Looking at the Internet Archive's copy of "moonstonebank.com" from before the crash:
CEO: Ron Oliveira. There's a new CEO now.
Lots of crypto-related material.
Most useful links end at "Request Early Access" or "Contact Us". It doesn't look like they really wanted customers.
> Could have been part of a larger plan which collapsed with FTX.
Unclear. The bank may have been used by FTX in some way. But it looks like tying it into the FTX empire in a way visible to customers didn't happen.
> It doesn't look like they really wanted customers.
Elon blabbered about making Twitter a bank to avoid bankrupcy.
Yeah, a person that ognored rules from both, the SEC and FTC, is a perfect candidate to run a bank. Sounds plausible so, in the sense of that being Elon's plan.
Huh, that's very unusual. Swapping the CEO.
Incidentally Gary Rever was the one outside director who came on the board with Chalopin during the takeover. Perlman and Olveira joined the following year.
There have been a number of cases in fintech of basically “buying” a banking license by buying some small bank.
That would appear to be the case here, with the difference being that the purchaser in this case is a foreign bank known for its ties to a large criminal enterprise (Tether/Bitfinex)
It's a very "wow the simulation is running wild" sensation to see that someone who helped create a Keystone Kops-style cartoon I loved as a kid is at the center of all this stuff where the regulators and investigators are seemingly totally out to lunch.
You may enjoy "inspector Tether". The "Fiat Currency --> Crypto Loans" bit was prescient, in light of knowledge that Tether's largest "customer", FTX, was a total fraud. Highly unlikely FTX gave Tether the $36 billion in USD that Tether claimed.
Deltec sent most of USDT ever created to Alameda Research: https://protos.com/tether-papers-crypto-stablecoin-usdt-inve...
This is a conspiracy !!
FTX and it's executives donated $70 million to politicians as well (in the last 18 months). SBF donated $40MM to Democrats, and a different executive donated $23MM to Republicans.
They were trying to buy all kinds of influence.
Not discounting any of the stuff that FTX has done or will come to light, but this practice of supporting “both sides” is a very common, by-the-book strategy for any special interest group or organization looking to buy influence and is flushed with money.
I’m still baffled that this kind of corruption isn’t frowned upon more. People are buying influence. How is that supposed to be OK or normal?
Unavoidable now because of the Citizens United court decision. Of course it's bad, but what are you gonna do?
Band together with other citizens and demand an end of this! Also since we're at it corporations aren't persons. The founders of the US were very vocal about giving power to the people, the laws were never intended to grant personhood to legal entities for the purpose of enabling unlimited political lobbying by their wealthy owners.
Banding how exactly in a way that would have sufficient impact to change this? It's not trivial to start a massive political movement. I gotta pay my mortgage, etc.
There is a significant effort put in by the FBI and others to arrest people who do that.
What kind of organization should citizens be allowed to create to promote a political position, if not a corporation?
A political party, surely.
(Also, despite that I am not much of a fan of the UK political system, I do like that it has extremely low limits on election spending).
A new political party would itself be a corporation (because if not, who owns its assets?) Running single-issue minor party candidates is also useless unless your issue is important enough to convince a majority of voters to abandon one of the big two parties that have run everything for our lifetimes.
One with limited spending power appears to be the gist, to everyone but the Supreme Court
If by citizens you mean citizens with a fuckload of money.
The non-profit kind for starters.
Citizens United is a 501(c)4 nonprofit corporation. I think a lot of Super PACs are, but it doesn't seem to alleviate anyone's concerns.
Make noise about it.
If you believe this is wrong, that is.
I don’t know, it’s not this prevalent everywhere so it is possible.
It wasn’t this prevalent here either until recently.
The Supreme Court has decided that Congress isn’t allowed to regulate this kind of behavior. The Court has also chipped away at bribery statutes, narrowing them significantly.
Unfortunately, without a constitutional amendment, new justices on the Supreme Court, or a revolution, there’s not a lot that can be done. I support an amendment, but with the current court it’s… we have a long way to go.
Or the “honest and honerable” politicians stop accepting donations they know are evil.
Ah never mind, we all know they can’t help it.
There are honest and honorable politicians that don’t take such money.
They often lose to the politicians that do take the donations. Because they don’t have the money necessary to compete in the election.
So, there’s a survivorship bias. Elected politicians are much more likely to be taking those donations. That’s why the system is so problematic. It drives out honest and honorable politicians, and rewards corrupt ones, which further reinforces the idea that all politicians are corrupt. They’re not, but under this system most elected politicians are.
Money matter in campaign. Politicians accepting these have massive advantage over those who don't- so they end up more winning.
In my opinion, this is the voters fault. Read up on the candidates, talk to other voters, if the candidate's ad is all fluff and no substance, don't vote for them. STOP believing non-journalistic cable TV channels who only profit from eyeballs and not the facts.
Advertising is very effective. There's no point in blaming people for it, especially since they are the victims in this scenario.
your expectations of voters are unrealistic. not everyone has the time or the education to sift through all that and effectively parse it's meaning. Madison avenue figured this out a long time ago and it's been downhill ever since
Yes, it is possible to amend the US Constitution to carve out an explicit exception in the 1st Amendment for political donations. So far Congress hasn't made a serious effort to do so.
I'm not really familiar with the US constitution, but doesn't the 1st Amendment only protect speech, petition and assembly? Is there some part I'm missing or did a court classify campaign donations as speech?
Ah thanks, that's what I was missing. Such a mindboggling decision.
If you actually read the decision, there's nothing mind boggling about it. It is consistent with the US Constitution, and with Supreme Court precedents. The result of that decision has been terrible, but we can only reliably fix it through the defined constitutional amendment process.
Yes, Citizens United articulated a system where "money for access/attention" is the dominant paradigm of American democracy.
Maybe I’m dense, but what difference does it make whether it was SBF or FTX making the donations? Why implicate Citizens United?
I think it’s frowned upon by many. It’s extremely challenging to address since Citizens United made it legal, and the courts have chipped away at efforts to make it more transparent.
I’m absolutely unhappy with the result. We legalized bribery and rank corruption. It’s awful for the system.
What do you think it’s not frowned upon?
To answer your last question: I'm not American, but I read a fair bit of US politics on places like HN. Whenever companies bribing US politicians is mentioned, it's done in a matter-of-fact way using extreme euphemisms. I don't just mean by the people involved, I mean by everybody, all the way down to regular nobodies discussing politics on the internet.
I very seldomly read stuff like "FTX bribed both the democrats and the republicans". People write stuff like "this practice of supporting “both sides” is a very common, by-the-book strategy". I mean, "supporting", really? "by-the-book"? That doesn't sound very frowned-upon-y to me. That sounds like y'all think this stuff is as normal as the air we breathe.
These aren't bribes. This isn't corruption either.
I don't understand that. What's the difference between "bribing" and "buying influence"? Is it about the time difference between when you give a politician money and when you expect something back?
It's the nature of the transaction. You are paying for a specific official act, that would be outright corruption.
Generally the money does not get you anything but an opportunity to pitch stuff to the politician, it's just an expensive way to become golf buddies.
There's a lot of things the politicians can help you with outside of their official duties. A senator chasing after your business partners visa issue is going to get it resolved within a day, without needing to wield any official power. This isn't corruption, corruption would be paying off the person making the visa decisions.
I get that if you come from a country with little actual corruption, this might seem like a distinction without a difference. It really isn't though, real corruption places a price tag on government officials doing (or not doing) their jobs.
I don't mean this in a dismissive way, because I appreciate your comment and you carefully set out a distinction, but it very much underlines what I'm worried about: that Americans are totally a-ok with corruption as long as it's done on a high enough level, to the point that it's openly discussed in the media and on internet forums and people do effort to explain to one another that it's not really real corruption at all.
I think their point is more that it's not frowned upon by people with lots of power and/or money. US policy very often aligns with the interests of the rich, and being able to buy the policy they want is very much in the interests of the rich.
Well depending on how you define both sides.
They are buying the regulation for themselves and against the people and yes this is very common and the people hate it.
Pretty wild but I worked with the other executive here Ryan Salame at a different company before he worked at Alameda/FTX a few year ago. He was a fairly junior so it's sort of surreal to see that he became co-CEO and had enough liquid wealth to be donating $20m+ for political campaigns.
Given how FTX was buying it's executives houses, I doubt that was his liquid wealth, I think he was just dipping into the FTX customer deposit piggy bank.
Yep that's the most likely scenario outside of secondary stock sales or personal sales of large amounts of FTT.
What's weird about him though is he wasn't listed as one of the "close insiders" who allegedly knew about the transfers of customers funds from FTX -> Alameda despite being "co-CEO" and there from the beginning of FTX's creation.
“and a different executive donated $23MM to Republicans”
The different executive donated to his girlfriend, who is a Democrat but was running as a Republican. Make of that what you will.
Let's hear what Ken Griffin has to say about the GOP receiving FTX money.
>Let's hear what Ken Griffin has to say about the GOP receiving FTX money.
Did the GOP directly profit from those donations or did it go to a specific PAC to support the campaign of a specific politician who a had personal connection to FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Salame? There is a report that suggests the latter.
My question is why the NY times is still running a summit where SBF is currently still scheduled to speak.
I obviously can’t speak for everyone, but personally, I am much more interested in what he has to say now than I was pre-collapse.
Yes, but you also seem to know more about the story than the average person. When SBF lies or gaslights, you can see right through it.
Different story for the average listener, who will be listening to most interactions with an open mind and susceptible to whichever person tends to be more charming or persuasive.
Is that true? I have to think that the average attendee of the New York Times's DealBook summit is probably going to be fairly high-information. I don't think the "average person" will even know about this conference much less care enough to watch the speeches.
This is true of basically every public figure.
I guess you're suggesting the NYT shouldn't let him speak, to protect us from ourselves? That's a startling position.
They are not letting me speak. They are not letting average fraudster waiting for court day to speak. Given that, yes, they should be able to not let speak whoever.
They are selecting very few people to speak and rejecting huge amounts of other people.
But the other real thing is how you introduce the speaker. What do you say about the speaker in your materials, whether you promote him as trustworthy or not.
> They are not letting me speak.
Please don't take this personally, but I generally have no interest in watching random people speak. They know their audience.
On the other hand, if they could secure an interview with Adolf Hitler himself, I would watch. Interest does not mean endorsement.
> Interest does not mean endorsement.
That does depend on how you introduce him and what questions you ask. It does matter on whether when he says lies about Jews for example in that interview, you let them stand unopposed. If you use positive or euphemisms ridden introduction, then you are endorsing actually. "The next speaker is smart awesome guy who has extensive experience in leading a crypto fund".
> if they could secure an interview with Adolf Hitler himself,
His speeches are no secret. If you invite Hitler, introduce him nicely and he then go about Jewish danger, they you are in fact helping him promote genocide. And that guy would not go for interview where he be in any danger of not dominating tone (he was good at popular politics).
But seriously, why is it that nazi speech is always the most important one? I dont see anyone going "interview with Usama Bin Ladin, lets have Pol Pot speaking, lets have Stalin speaking, we should add communists/anarchists/ISIS into the mix".
Since the event hasn't happened yet, you have no idea how they are going to treat SBF.
And... I have watched a few of Hitler's speeches? And somehow I'm still not a Nazi. Nor have I, to my knowledge, promoted genocide.
Give humans more credit. They're not stupid.
They're not letting every other criminal speak, is that also a startling position?
I'm not a fan of protecting people from themselves. Let them speak.
> Different story for the average listener, who will be listening to most interactions with an open mind and susceptible to whichever person tends to be more charming or persuasive.
That doesn't matter. Who cares how the public sees him? All that's going to matter is how a jury sees him shortly. And the prosecution will be able to present evidence.
In the meantime, let him keep speaking on the record and admitting to things. And providing a show for those of use who are paying attention.
Besides, I'm not sure how many "average listeners" are going to be tuning into the NYT event. I assume it's mostly people who have been following the story.
While I have little confidence in the average NYT reader I think people need to be able to make up their own minds, and Sam has an important and relevant perspective which we should be able to take into account, even if he might frame it in a way that makes him look good
It's not like he hasn't been talking or typing.
His lawyers probably reckoned he was talking way too much, was too much of a liability and dropped him immediately.
The real question is he keeps receiving positive media coverage? They keep trying to frame him as, just a "dumb kid and his friends" that "accidentally misplaced billions" - when in fact, it is pretty obvious he planned most of it, by how his complex corporate structure was and the constant deleting of evidence every step of the way.
Not to mention how he gave himself over a billion of personal loans and spending millions on bribes towards the end for hopes of political protection when he knew he was running out of rope to hide his scam.
Not sure where you’re seeing this coordinated effort to frame him positively. Im sure there are some takes like that, but there is also:
I’m seeing plenty of critical coverage. Are you really not seeing that?
Headlines like "Sam Bankman-Fried’s Plans to Save the World Went Down in Flames" paint him in a more positive light than he deserves IMO. There were no plans to save the world.
Can you point to any one thing he said which no one else has said before? Maybe an insightful comment to help understand his "relevant perspective"?
He got a degree from MIT, did a year at Jane Street, but is unable to keep basic financial records??? This doesn't make sense to me, and seems like obvious fraud.
I don't think he has any special wisdom to impart, but I really like the potential payoff opportunity. Something really funny could happen! Like a pie in his face or a profoundly self-unaware quip that sends the crowd into half shrieking laughter and half boos.
He’s a criminal fraudster.
I would withhold judgement. For all we know the interviewer (who is going to be much more prepared and informed than people here) is going to press him in front of thousands of people why he stole people's money and lied about it. Let's see.
Given it's Andrew Ross Sorkin, he probably won't.
It's an interview not a talk (see my other comment)
All he seems to be able to say is that yes, he did YOLO with customer funds, and he is really sorry and wishes he didn't do that.
Has he moved on to wishing he didn't do that? I've only heard him say he wished the YOLO worked.
I'm not interested at all, going by his Twitter, it will all be complete nonsense. Hopefully he's intercepted by the FBI and finally brought to justice.
A congressional commitee hearing would accomplish it.
Yeah, interviewing is fine but should be police/feds, not a publicity event where he can further his own agenda.
He can say that they were testing a new AI system that failed while they were sleeping...
Yes, same. Sorkin says he won't hold back.
This is a huge red flag. Bankman-Fried is acting like the fix is already in.
I won't believe this guy is actually going to prison until they slam the iron bars closed behind him.
I doubt any organized crime was using FTX. And if they were, he seems mart enough to pay them back first. But if there was some smallish organization of contraband dealers using FTX and he didn't know? White collar prison isn't his worst case outcome.
As said earlier he has bribed the right big fish. But ignoring angry medium fish can be a problem. Also those might not be bribes. It might be a way to launder money into campaign contributions. Not that you really need that in the US now.
If you're trusting what SBF is implying about a fix being in, well I have some FTT to sell you.
The guy is going to jail. If you want to make a bet on it, I'm willing to do so.
The claim is that they’ll use the opportunity to grill him with hard questions and check his lies on the spot.
In reality, I have a hard time believing that after watching Kanye West’s recent media tour where he steamrolled his interviewers and used their platforms to repeat his claims over and over again. Even the podcasts where interviewers supposedly pushed back the most (Lex Fridman is often given as an example) barely resulted in Kanye acknowledging the pushback and didn’t stop him from repeating his points over and over on the platform.
The NYTimes event is especially weird because it’s not being held up as a “watch us grill this liar” but rather “come hear talks from this impressive lineup of accomplished people!”
I have a hard time believing that Kanye West, a public entertainer with decades of media experience, is a reasonable bellwether for how SBF is likely to perform under similar circumstances.
SBF is probably paying for the best personal brand repair money can buy. He knows if you can achieve the cult like following of Elon or Trump you can become untouchable with the right bribes.
SBF's name is the reputational equivalent of Bernie Madoff.
You think people are going to help him make a comeback or convince people to give him more money?
His only counsel now is going to be criminal lawyers. No PR firm or conference interview could save this dude's reputation.
His PR team bought the New York Times. It's ludicrous to think that they're giving him this positive treatment without bribes. Well, not bribe-bribes, of course, but rather the kind of bribes that very rich and well-connected people can afford.
Why would other people agree to share a stage with a guy who has possibly/probably(?) committed a massive fraud?
There's plenty of journalistic value in interviewing him and the audience will be very interested in hearing it.
I'm not sure what being outraged over his interview is going to achieve Signalling you disagree with what he did? To protect people from his hearing his dangerous words? To punish him?
IMO hearing his rationale, seeing how he convinced people, the lies he tells himself, etc should all be analyzed and publicly scrutinized. It's not like he's promoting some new venture or something.
Forget about the journalists, other speakers and interviewees are attending...why would THEY want to be associated with this?
Associated with what? An interview being done with a public figure?
They aren't suddenly friends with the guy because he gave a virtual interview over Zoom at the same event as them.
You don't need to be constantly publicly showing your outrage to make it clear "x person bad". We get it. We know he's bad. Even without such brave moral heroics.
Will he be paid for the appearance? Journalism usually precludes paying for an interview.
> Why would other people agree to share a stage with a guy who has possibly/probably(?) committed a massive fraud?
Netanyahu or SBF?
For personal entertainment? I dunno?
I mean something is gonna go down, might as well be there for the popcorn.
Did you look at the list of speakers? I think that most of them are used to being around fraudsters.
otherwise the stages would be empty
As a lure, so they can arrest him in the US? Clicks? Otherwise not sure why.
I believe the US has an extradition treaty with the Bahamas.
They've said they expect him to attend virtually from the Bahamas.
I don't think he's that stupid.
Then again, I've been telling myself the exact same thing since the start of this saga and I have been proven wrong every single time.
Yes, but no - putting aside the whole organizational, accounting etc failure, he just doubled the stakes each time he could.
He's being interviewed by Sorkin so even if FTX hadn't crashed, it would have been as interesting* and enlightening as SBF's interview with Levine. It will be even better now, and I will enjoy reading the transcript.
* TBH my only interest in the whole things is Schadenfreude, like checking out a car crash in the street. The sector is so tiny that even if FTX brings the whole thing down it'll be a largely invisible ripple on a macro scale.
andrew ross sorkin
I am surprised the NYT didn't de-platform him.
Actually, I am not surprised the NYT did not de-platform him.
Who has the NYT deplatformed? What platform do they even comtrol?
Getting people kicked off speaking events is a common 'deplatforming' tactic.
Great. Who has the NYT deplatformed?
What's your point?
That NYTimes takes a stand against deplatforming? At their own summits? Or in their newspaper's opinion pieces?
You said you were surprised the NYT had not deplatformed him. I was asking what they had done in the past that made you think they would. I guess nothing?
Perhaps so that he will come to the US so he can be arrested here?
tongue-in-cheek how else does DOJ get him to a location to arrest him in the easiest way possible?
Surely they’ll pull him. The NYT may act like its above the people, the politics, but even this would be an overreach. However, if SBF is committed to showing up, then it could be the paper’s moment to shine. However I don’t think the Times quite has the nation’s confidence that it once enjoyed ..long ago.
Note that they aren't pulling him: https://twitter.com/andrewrsorkin/status/1595517635441090565
> then it could be the paper’s moment to shine
The NYT having SBF speak at one of their conferences would be the paper's moment to shine?
Yes. If a tough reporter really nails him down with a tough interview, it could be a shining moment for journalism. If they fawn over him, as some have suggested of recent coverage, then it will be a failure. The NYT should keep him, dare him to show up, and then do their jobs: Hold his feet to the fire.
The summits are about making money not news.
Even if it is a money-making endeavor, the NYT could slightly mend its journalistic reputation with some hard-hitting questions to SBF. They have been soft-handed so far in their reporting on SBF and FTX and it reeks of major bias and conflict of interest.
In case anyone doesn't know what I am referring to, here is some background.
He hasn't been convicted let alone charged with a crime (yet). When he is, his actions weren't violent. He's not a radicalizing figure and letting him speak doesn't hurt anyone (as opposed to an Alex Jones type).
Statistically speaking there's assuredly at least 1 person in this whole fiasco that lost most to all of their life savings, stolen from them, by this guy.
This is an extreme form of violence, not physical but definitely psychological, your whole life of work savings was wiped out and taken by this guy.
Holding the view you hold is why white-collar crimes are viewed so leniently compared to what you'd call violent crimes. Just because the effects of it are more abstracted away doesn't make them lesser, people might commit suicide over this. They might never recover the amount of money lost for the rest of their lifetime. It's a perpetual torture for those who got the shortest end of the stick. How is that non-violent?
It's not my view that he hasn't been charged or convicted, it is an objective fact.
What is the definition of violence?
> behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
> What is the definition of violence?
You've already conceded that words can hurt people (Alex Jones), so why are you trying to backpedal that now?
> words can hurt people (Alex Jones)
Equating money losses with violence dilutes the term, and has a history of slipping into hurt feelings and blasphemy being tantamount to violence. There are crimes which may rise to the severity of violence. That doesn’t make them violence. Alex Jones incited violent. He, himself, was never violent. SBF perpetuated a massive fraud. He has not been connected with any violence.
I don't believe Alex Jones ever incited violence. SBF destroyed the net worth of a lot of people.
Yeah. I see SBF coming up with some sort of self-exculpatory bullshit to a fairly hostile line of questioning; something unlikely to hurt anyone other than maybe SBF
I don't see him excusing himself by explaining that regulators aren't real, they're just actors playing a role in an evil New World Order conspiracy to take people's guns away, and if he does, I don't see the NYT Dealbook summit attendees being the sort of people that turn up on their doorsteps as a result. And FTX is far too dead for him to harm people's wallets any further by persuading them to park their money in it.
Are you suggesting that if any words can harm people, all words must be considered harmful?
I'm saying Bankman-Fried has hurt a few orders of magnitude more people than Alex Jones, and allowing him to give interviews and flippantly defend himself is going to cause a lot of emotional trauma.
I think some people have different feelings about their murdered children than they do about stolen money. YMMV.
This is where we get into dark, murky questions.
Is 1 murdered person better or worse than the long term impact of two or even one person becoming destitute enough that their movements have long term impact on another?
>When he is, his actions weren't violent
If you steal $10 from a local shop (sorry, $1000 in California now) you'll be in jail before the end of the week. Steal $1,000,000,000 eight times over and you.. get to speak at a NYT conference?
I don't know, I just want some consistency from the justice system. That's not too much to ask for, or expect, really.
> That's not too much to ask for, or expect, really.
Please tell me what reality you live in and how to get there. Hell, just look across this site to see all the advice that ethics are for those who like staying poor.
It's quite simple, you take a clear eyed look at the problems in the world and you say, "I don't need to accept this, this can and should be fixed." You'll no doubt encounter people saying silly stuff like you cited, because some people operate on the basis of "the most cynical take is the correct one;" you ignore these people and continue to focus on the problems at hand. Similar to how, if you want to start a business, there are likely people in your life who will shoot down every idea that you have; you stop asking those people for advice.
One challenge with that approach is if you're not careful, someone might start identifying you as a threat because of that behavior, and start attacking you using the BS and lies that a great many others are susceptible too (or outright violence).
What we're seeing now is the part of the larger cycle where folks get more and more insistent that they're warped world view is correct (and it wouldn't surprise me if we get more violence than we got on Jan 6th later because of it), since they can't acknowledge that they're wrong and something bad is happening because of it, which will cause more bad things to happen.
It is imperative more people stand up and provide counter-pressure, because otherwise they will win.
I believe that stealing from financial systems should be less harshly punished than stealing directly from people, small businesses etc.
Whole point of financial system is risk management, while corner shop owners should not deal with theft risk at all.
I mean yes it's true that JP Morgan isn't going to go bankrupt if they cash some bad checks but at the end of the day that's money that could go to opening new branches, hiring employees, paying bonuses or depositors more interest. The cost to society is the same it's just distributed over a larger number of people.
I bet more than one corner shop worker had money in FTX.
Sure. If you put your money slightly outside regulated banks, you implicitly accept the risk of losing it.
Not violent directly perhaps. I agree that letting him speak now won't hurt anyone, physically for sure.. but theft and destruction of wealth is not without consequences, in real life.
If, through my actions, you become financially ruined, I may not have kicked, beaten, or raped you, but is the harm comparable? Is it violence?
I personally view financial theft as a form of violence.
Good for you? The law and society at large doesn't.
Violence - behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
I think most understand violence to include things like intimidation, emotional abuse, and imprisonment. The expression "physical violence" is a reflection of this broader understanding - there wouldn't need to be clarification, otherwise.
I think of violence as the use of force or implied force to limit the agency of another. I'm not sure I'd call this violence but I can see where they're coming from.
Maybe ask for clarification instead of being rude and dismissive, or simply leave your sneering judgement unsaid. You may be find this view uninteresting, but I find your snark exhausting. I could just as easily say, "oh you're snarky, good for you?" Additionally GP added to the conversation, and your snark detracts.
> When he is, his actions weren't violent.
He stole tremendous amounts of people's money. I hope you're as forgiving to him as you are towards to the people who caused the 2008 economic collapse. At least they weren't actively stealing people's money.
It is an alleged massive fraud going on a public relations tour pre-trial, which not every defendant gets. I guess we'll see if NYT allows him to sail through it sympathetically.
He stole billions of dollars in client funds.
That's far more damaging than a delusional rant on some obscure internet radio station.
He has admitted to the crimes. There's no doubt that he committed a massive fraud. They gambled with customer funds and lost billions of dollars.
Alex Jones isn't dangerous. He's just a weird guy who likes to rant about stuff. Sam Bankman Fried is a thief.
Honestly I actually doubt he did anything he can be charged with. The whole point of crypto is that you are investing in something ABSOLUTELY NOBODY wants to take responsibility for.
I find it amusing that there is now a call to apply the same rules for crypto exchanges. Didn't everyone hate traditional finance a few months ago?
He admitted to using client funds against the stated TOS. Embezzlement, Fraud, whatever - a crime did occur, regardless of if it was crypto, and every country I've run across has laws against that.
Untangling how to charge him, and where, and digging up concrete enough evidence to file an indictment is going to take awhile of course. The post-bankruptcy CEO seems to be finding plenty.
As with a lot of non-violent crime, it takes awhile to arrest someone because there is a lot of paperwork. When the suspect has a lot of cash and lawyers, it takes longer because they need to make sure there isn't an angle they are missing that could get them off.
> As with a lot of non-violent crime, it takes awhile to arrest someone because there is a lot of paperwork. When the suspect has a lot of cash and lawyers, it takes longer because they need to make sure there isn't an angle they are missing that could get them off.
Yes. The investigation has to happen before the arrest. With violent crime, it's usually clear what happened; the question is who did it. With white-collar crime, sorting out what happened is complicated. With FTX, it's really complicated. Prosecutors only get one chance; if they take someone to trial on early evidence and lose, they usually can't come back later and try again.
But it doesn't all have to be figured out. Just enough for a long sentence.
Known overt acts, such as buying US$300 million of Bahamas real estate with company funds and putting the real estate in a family name, are probably enough for grand theft.
What he's admitted to are loose financial controls and by the letter of the law it's not illegal to be bad at your job. Obviously no one really believes his "whoopsie poopsie accidentally lost a few billion" story but technically he hasn't yet admitted to a crime.
Nope. Mishandling customer funds yourself against your own stated use of said funds to customers when you gathered those funds is one of those crimes above, depending on specifics.
Bad financial controls is if someone else whoopsie accidentally steals or mishandles the funds. Which at least per a cite provided earlier, he admitted to doing it himself.
To be able to claim a lack of culpability for this requires a degree of plausible ignorance about what the left and right hands were doing. He seems to be working hard to chip away at any sort of plausibility there.
He doesn't have to claim anything because he's presumed innocent. To nail him for wire fraud you need to prove:
>(1) that the defendant voluntarily and intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money;
>(2) that the defendant did so with the intent to defraud
Thus far he hasn't admitted to either and so hasn't yet admitted to a crime.
You’re making claims I never did.
Wire fraud != fraud, theft, or embezzlement.
It’s a specific sub-type of fraud, and your link is pointing to a specific list of elements within a certain jurisdiction.
Even then, that vox conversation cited above combined with what we already know is likely to be enough to prove at least embezzlement.
Here is a link to some elements of the crime for that if you’re interested.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, unless he somehow can convince a Judge or Jury that he didn’t know what was happening, it would be very implausible someone couldn’t get a sizable conviction somewhere on one or more of those charges. But we won’t know for sure until the situation has been analyzed. But he sure isn’t helping himself.
Which is why I said what I said. He could of course have no defense and sit there mute for the entire trial, but I can’t imagine a Jury would be all that convinced by it, if the prosecution provided even the most basic set of evidence that seems to be lying around all over the place.
He signed up customers with documented agreements saying that their funds would be segregated and not lent out, and then he used the U.S. banking system's wire infrastructure to have their money sent directly to his hedge fund Alameda Research instead of the exchange FTX.
Cite? If so, that's amazingly dumb.
This was one of many admissions in his text exchange with Vox. You can see an example wire here https://twitter.com/EventLongShort/status/159346927091841434...
That doesn't really make a lot of sense. Customers sent him dollars to buy crypto. So any dollars that came in were almost immediately turned into crypto. The only way for those crypto assets to be missing is if the crypto was transferred.
The dollars were used to purchase a claim on crypto payable by the exchange FTX. But it is not at all clear at this point that if someone sent money to them ("them" being some kind of quantum superposition of FTX and Alameda Research) and used it to purchase Bitcoin on the exchange, that FTX ever did anything other than update a number in their internal customer-facing ledgers. They had only $639,000 in Bitcoin on their balance sheet in their bankruptcy filing. And obviously the crypto is not all sitting at FTX ready to meet customer withdrawals or they would never have paused them in the first place.
What would happen if everyone's starbucks phone wallet balance suddenly vanished because starbucks YOLO'd all the funds on Dogecoin? Would that be fraud? Or would they just get away with Oops moneys is gone, all your balances are now zero.
Interesting how almost no one commented on the actual article here. I think this ownership probably has to more do with the fact that mainstream banks don't want to get near crypto exchanges than some kind of corrupt conspiracy. The current regulatory system relies on outsourcing AML/KYC to banks but I guess no one ever thought about what happens if someone is rich enough to just buy a bank. Plenty of 5 employee credit unions around just waiting to be acquired!
Buy something if you have the money. It's called free market. So it's not by accident like this, it's not a bug, it's a feature.
Well life imitates art: Axecap buys a bank in Billions!
> The chairman of FBH is Jean Chalopin, who, along with being a co-creator of cartoon cop Inspector Gadget in the 1980s, is the chairman of Deltec Bank
So what? I also know one of the producers of Inspector gadget. He lives close to me. It was 1985. Too far gone.
There was another amazing exposé of Tether a few months ago all about this. I can’t remember if it was on Bloomberg, but that Inspector Gadget bit stuck out to me too.
Gogo gadget bankfraud!
Nice. I can see that net of subsidiaries expand and roll out.
From the article:
“The chairman of FBH is Jean Chalopin, who, along with being a co-creator of cartoon cop Inspector Gadget in the 1980s, is the chairman of Deltec Bank, which, like FTX, is based in the Bahamas. Deltec’s best-known client is Tether, a crypto company with $65 billion in assets offering a stablecoin that is pegged to the dollar.”
That tells you everything you need to know.
That absolutely does not tell me everything I need to know. How the hell does the creator of inspector gadget end up mixed in this insanity?
He's deep into the tether/Bitfinex scam since the start, way before Alameda/FTX existed. Now how he ended up there is quite a mistery but it's been known since years and years.
Ah, come on: a bank with 3 employees + The Inspector Gadget (+ all other weirdness about FTX), who knows what else will come up => I now feel the need to know more, this is just too interesting&weird&funny => I'll wait with trepidation Matt Levine's post about this stuff, maybe with extras. This is almost better than any fiction books/movies.
$65B in alleged assets is what they should have said.
Tether is the biggest scam in all of crypto, so this tracks.
I'll leave aside "the transaction was fraudulently approved" for the moment. I can see a possible, if naïve, thought process being "It's a tiny bank, hedge and crypto do absurd types of silly transactions, let's let them burn their cash since they think yolo with their own money."
Wow! I know folks at this bank, they are one of the few banks approved by Washington DFI for cannabis -- https://dfi.wa.gov/cannabis/financial-services -- we were looking to move some banking there.
But one of our crew found info on Crunchbase about Alameda Research + Moonstone and we nope-d out of that deal. They said "we don’t have any risk or exposure from Alameda Research" -- but, still -- too close for comfort
Which set of supposed regulators approved this purchase?
Find them. Investigate them.
“The fact that an offshore hedge fund that was basically a crypto firm was buying a stake in a tiny bank for multiples of its stated book value should have raised massive red flags for the F.D.I.C., state regulators and the Federal Reserve,” said Camden Fine, a bank industry consultant who used to head the Independent Community Bankers of America. “It’s just astonishing that all of this got approved.”
So much for regulators/regulations.
This is the kind of regulations that exist supposedly to hold accountable traditional finance and makes it an allegedly legitimate industry.
One should wonder at which point we will have to deliberately stop unraveling this thread, before it gets really ugly for everyone... it might not be just crypto-exchanges that are completely rotten.
> Which set of supposed regulators approved this purchase
I would bet none. This looks like an illegal transfer of control. If shown, that gives us the thread with which to finally topple Tether.
Similar case in Australia where they bought a company that already had a financial services license: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/nov/23/ftx-b...
From the wapo article, talking about real estate in the Bahamas:
“Literally, the day it occurred, they called and said, ‘Let me know. I will pay cash,’” Hillier said. “People see opportunity.”
Huh. It’s almost like how rich people buy property is:
1. Create a ponzu scheme or other financial shenanigans
2. Get money from peoples.
3. Spend proles’ money on ridiculous assets and property
4. Declare said scheme bankrupt
5. Step in and buy assets for pennies on dollar.
Ideally, step 4 happens during a financial crisis so that proles can’t get access to borrowed money, thereby reducing competition for assets.
How come this FTX case is so vast and seems to encompass everything in the US? From afar, it just seems too much. For example, is Coinbase equally multifaceted ?
The PR for the investment doesn't imply nefarious intent.
Why would they post a PR announcement if they knew it was an illegal transaction?
"The chairman of FBH is Jean Chalopin, who, along with being a co-creator of cartoon cop Inspector Gadget in the 1980s, is the chairman of Deltec Bank, which, like FTX, is based in the Bahamas."
ahaha, i loved Inspector Gadget. but also: what the hell.
Traditional markets, central governments aren’t immune to the principal agent problem. best is to always align incentives.
Interesting WebAuthn demo still up on their site.
Touching a bank, even briefly glancing it, is a fast way straight to federal pen if you’re attached to anything nefarious.
A small bank, right?
Any bank. Bank charters are attached with enormous responsibilities and consequences.
For big banks: fines yes, prison, usually no.
For example https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/us-fed-terminates-e...
For employees involved in money laundering or insider trading or other financial crimes, they go to jail fast regardless of bank size. And the firms spend negative energy protecting them.
I can't imagine any average person trusting that bank at all, based just on its appearance.
Finally, slightly honest less-softball coverage of this outright criminal...
Looks like a Laudromat.
The most efficient way to rob a bank is to own it.