Sam Bankman-Fried says 'f*ck regulators' in wide-ranging interview with Vox

Quick Take

  • Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried made a number of eyebrow-raising statements in a wide-ranging interview conducted over Twitter DM with Vox.
  • “A month ago I was one of the world’s greatest fundraisers,” he said. “Now I’m the fallen wreckage of one.”
  • SBF responded and said the messages were not intended to be public.

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried made a number of eyebrow-raising statements in a wide-ranging interview conducted over Twitter DMs for more than an hour late Tuesday with Vox reporter Kelsey Piper.

"Fuck regulators," he said when asked the exchange's lobby efforts had been mostly public relations. "They make everything worse."

Hours after the interview was published, Bankman-Fried said on Twitter that he had spoken with a friend last night and that the messages were not intended to be public. 

Piper said that Bankman-Fried had DMed her on Twitter, responding to a message she sent him on Nov. 13 after the company had filed for bankruptcy protection days earlier. She said that she had spoken with him on Zoom earlier in the summer for a profile. 

Since troubles for the company spiraled out of control last week, Bankman-Fried has mostly communicated through Twitter in a series of  bizarre ramblings. FTX quickly followed the publication of the Vox interview by saying on Twitter that Bankman-Fried had no ongoing role at FTX, FTX US or sister trading firm Alameda Research and did not speak on their behalf. 

'Fallen wreckage'

Bankman-Fried said that he regretted filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and that "everything would be ~70% fixed right now if I hadn't." 

"Instead I filed, and the people in charge of it are trying to burn it all to the ground out of shame," he said. As for what's next, Bankman-Fried said he had two weeks to raise $8 billion.

"That's basically all that matters for the rest of my life," he said. "A month ago I was one of the world's greatest fundraisers. Now I'm the fallen wreckage of one."

SBF apologizes 

After Vox published the comments, Bankman-Fried characterized his remarks as "thoughtless or overly strong."

"I was venting and not intending that to be public," he wrote, stating that he thought it was "really" hard to be a regulator.

"They have an impossible job," he wrote, adding that interacting with regulatory structures can be "frustrating." "There are regulators who have deeply impressed me with their knowledge and thoughtfulness."

Notable SBF quotes from the interview:

  • "ESG has been perverted beyond recognition," he said in continued comments about regulation, in which he also said that Office of Foreign Assets Control was "slowly undermining U.S. interests globally and is the single biggest threat to the U.S. being a superpower."
  • "I didn't want to do sketchy stuff, there are huge negative effects from it and I didn't mean to. Each individual decision seemed fine and I didn't realize how big their sum was until the end."
  • "Sometimes life creeps up on you," he said after saying he thought Alameda had enough collateral to reasonably cover funds it had lent out.
  • "Messy accounting + margin exchange," he said when asked about the origin of the exchange's troubles 
  • "More careful accounting + offboard Alameda from FTX once FTX could live on its own," he said when asked what he'd do if he could do it all over again.
  • "It's complicated," he said, when pressed as to whether the firm was lending out customer funds. "It wasn't quite lending them out — it was messier and more organic than that."
  • "Gary is scared, Nishad is ashamed and guilty," he said, referring to co-founder Gary Wang and director of engineering Nishad Singh.

(Updates with additional tweets from Bankman-Fried.)

Disclaimer: The former CEO and majority shareholder of The Block has disclosed a series of loans from former FTX and Alameda founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

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