Sam Bankman-Fried Criminal Trial

Sequence of Events Leading to FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s Conviction

The recent fraud conviction of FTX founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, represents the conclusion of a yearlong legal ordeal following the dramatic downfall of the cryptocurrency exchange he established. Below, we outline the significant milestones leading up to this verdict:

2017

In this year, Sam Bankman-Fried, an alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, departs from his position as a quantitative trader at Jane Street Capital to inaugurate Alameda Research, a trading firm specializing in cryptocurrency.

MAY 2019

Bankman-Fried, along with former Google employee Gary Wang, founds FTX as a fresh platform for trading crypto tokens and derivatives.

OCTOBER 2021

FTX secures $420 million in venture funding, elevating the company’s valuation to $25 billion. Bankman-Fried makes his debut on Forbes’ list of billionaires, estimating his net worth at $22.5 billion. By year-end, the magazine would revise his wealth to $26 billion.

FEBRUARY 2022

The NFL Super Bowl features an abundance of cryptocurrency advertisements, underscoring the peak of enthusiasm for this flourishing asset class. FTX’s “Don’t Miss Out” ad showcases actor Larry David, illustrating his skepticism about the platform, akin to an early human questioning the importance of the wheel.

JUNE-JULY 2022

Bankman-Fried emerges as the cryptocurrency sector’s designated “white knight” amidst a sharp decline in Bitcoin and other digital asset prices. Alameda extends a $200 million credit facility to crypto lender Voyager Digital, while FTX provides a $250 million loan to lender BlockFi.

NOV. 2, 2022

Crypto news outlet CoinDesk releases a leaked Alameda Research balance sheet, revealing that a substantial portion of its $14.6 billion in assets is held in FTX’s proprietary token, FTT. This revelation prompts a drop of approximately $400 million in FTT’s market capitalization, leading rival exchange Binance to announce its intention to divest its FTT holdings.

NOV. 8, 2022

In the wake of $6 billion in customer withdrawals from FTX within three days, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announces a nonbinding agreement to acquire FTX’s non-U.S. unit. However, Binance subsequently abandons the deal the following day.

NOV. 11, 2022

FTX files for bankruptcy protection in the U.S., with Bankman-Fried resigning as the CEO.

NOV. 16, 2022

Prominent FTX endorsers, including David and NFL quarterback Tom Brady, face a lawsuit alleging deceptive practices. The celebrities contend that they are not responsible for the losses suffered by FTX investors.

DEC. 12, 2022

Bankman-Fried is apprehended in the Bahamas, where he resides and where FTX is headquartered. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan subsequently confirms that a federal grand jury has indicted him on fraud and conspiracy charges.

DEC. 21, 2022

Bankman-Fried consents to extradition to the United States from the Bahamas. While in transit, prosecutors reveal that both Gary Wang and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities.

DEC. 22, 2022

Bankman-Fried makes his initial appearance in Manhattan federal court and is released to home detention at his parents’ residence in Palo Alto, California, on $250 million bond.

JAN. 3-12, 2023

Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty, and U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan schedules his trial for October. In a blog post following his arrest, Bankman-Fried refutes allegations of misappropriation and attributes FTX’s collapse to a broader downturn in the crypto markets.

FEB. 28, 2023

Former FTX director of engineering, Nishad Singh, adds to the mounting pressure on Bankman-Fried by becoming the third former member of his inner circle to plead guilty to fraud charges and agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors.

AUG. 11, 2023

Kaplan revokes Bankman-Fried’s bail after finding probable cause to believe he tampered with witnesses on at least two occasions, including sharing Ellison’s private writings with a New York Times reporter. Bankman-Fried is remanded to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center pending trial.

OCT. 3, 2023

The trial commences in Manhattan federal court.

OCT. 28, 2023

Bankman-Fried takes the stand in his own defense, acknowledging that many were affected by FTX’s collapse, yet maintaining his innocence in defrauding customers or embezzling billions.

NOV. 2, 2023

Bankman-Fried is convicted on all seven charges brought against him.