2-hour sit-down with Sam Bankman-Fried on the FTX scandal

Episode 121 of Season 4 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block's Frank Chaparro, and Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of FTX and Alameda Research.

Listen below, and subscribe to The Scoop on AppleSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts. Or click here to watch the full interview on YouTube. Email feedback and revision requests can be sent to [email protected].

In this episode of The Scoop, Sam Bankman-Fried describes how a legacy payment system linked FTX’s future to Alameda Research’s fate, and explores why regulators and auditors alike failed to discover this relationship.

According to Bankman-Fried, many FTX customers would fund their accounts via direct wire transfers to Alameda Research bank accounts:

“What that flow I think looked like was basically: Bob wires $100 straight to Alameda Research, and then Alameda effectively ledger transfers $100 to Bob on FTX.”

SBF has claimed that wired customer funds contributed to over half of Alameda’s position on FTX, likely totaling over $5 billion, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. 

In hindsight, SBF says a “reasonably responsible” way of managing direct wire transfers would have been only debiting Alameda’s primary FTX account. In practice, however, wired customer funds were being credited from an Alameda stub account that SBF says “was specifically meant to be a ledger for wire transfers.”


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When pressed on how regulators and auditors failed to uncover the extent of Alameda’s relationship to FTX, SBF alleged that customer positions — including Alameda’s — were not part of FTX’s balance sheet:

“This was effectively a customer negative position, and many customers had negative positions open on FTX … Those were not part of FTX's assets or liabilities, they were customer assets and liabilities, and so FTX's financials were not directly impacted by this.”

During this episode, Chaparro and Bankman-Fried also discuss:

  • Why top executives were extended large personal lines of credit
  • If a BlockFi loan was used to purchase Robinhood equity
  • Whether or not FTX effectively contributed to charity

This episode is brought to you by our sponsors Tron, Ledn, Athletic Greens

About Tron
Founded in 2013, Huobi Global is one of the largest virtual asset exchanges in the world. Huobi Global serves millions of users across international markets. Since its establishment, Huobi Global has committed to providing first class virtual asset investment services. Huobi Global's robust infrastructure, product innovation and capital strength provides a truly customer-centric and secure trading environment to help our international users to achieve their investment objectives. Please refer to Huobi's official website for more information: huobi.com.

About Ledn
Ledn was founded on the unshakeable conviction that digital assets have the power to democratize access to the global economy. We help you to experience the real life benefits of your Bitcoin without having to sell it. Start a savings account, take out a loan, or double your Bitcoin. For more information visit Ledn.io

About Athletic Greens
Build a Foundation for Better Health. It’s time to reclaim your health and arm your immune system with convenient, daily nutrition! Fill nutrient gaps, promote gut health, and support whole-body vitality with AG1. One daily serving delivers a potent blend of 9 health products—a multivitamin, minerals, probiotics, adaptogens and more—working together to help you feel like your healthiest self. For more information visit AthleticGreens.com/Scoop

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.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.


About Authors

Davis Quinton is the Director of Podcasts at The Block and runs our flagship podcast called The Scoop, hosted by Frank Chaparro. Since joining The Block as an 'intern' in early 2022, he has worked closely with leaders across departments to translate The Block's written content into engaging multimedia formats. He holds a degree in Social Research & Public Policy from New York University in Abu Dhabi and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Frank Chaparro is the Editor At Large at The Block. Chaparro started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley. In 2018, he become a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. He runs his own podcast The Scoop and writes a biweekly eponymous newsletter. He leads special projects, including The Block's flagship podcast, The Scoop. Prior to The Block, he held roles at Business Insider, NPR, and Nasdaq. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected].


To contact the editor of this story:
Walden Siew at
[email protected]