"We Came. We Saw. We Researched." That's how Sam Bankman-Fried planned to announce to the world the closure of Alameda Research, according to a draft Tweet thread he wrote in September 2022, revealed as part of evidence given at his ongoing fraud trial.
Bankman-Fried drafted the thread only two months before FTX's collapse while deliberating on the future of the trading firm he co-founded. According to testimony from FTX co-founder Gary Wang, Bankman-Fried was nervous ahead of the publication of an article which would show close ties between FTX and Alameda Research.
In the draft thread, Bankman-Fried described Alameda Research as "one of my largest successes–and then, briefly, largest failures–and then again successes." Bankman-Fried extolled Alameda as "one piece backstopping the ecosystem" and "a buyer when no one else is ready to buy–when markets are wild and volatile and prices are crashing and capital is scarce."
Bankman-Fried also praised Alameda's activity following his departure. "Becoming a large global source of liquidity, guidance, and backstopping for the entire ecosystem. And, you know, doing a good trade now and then," Bankman-Fried added.
"Make sure we do the right things"
Bankman-Fried, in the thread, describes his "biggest failure" — losing track of millions of dollars worth of XRP tokens. "In February 2018, we got lazy–and our accounting was lazy–and we lost most of what we'd made," Bankman-Fried wrote. "Employees were sad and angry and frustrated, and I had no idea what to do about that." (Emphasis in original throughout.)
"It wasn't until the company split in two that I came to terms with the following facts," Bankman-Fried's draft thread continues. He added: "a) In the end, everything is my responsibility," "b) I can't make everyone happy, and if people are unhappy they should leave," and "c) The most important thing is that I make sure we do the right things as a company."
Blame the competition
In the thread, Bankman-Fried takes aim at his competitors, stating that the narrative that Alameda and FTX are too close "...has been largely spread by competitors of FTX, looking to distract from their problems. And, it's not true." Yet, to Bankman-Fried, "...the PR cost is not worth it."
Later in the thread, another veiled shot at critics. "It's especially galling because some competitors have internal trading desks that are an (open) secret, which specifically use confidential customer information to manipulate their own markets," Bankman-Fried wrote.
Bankman-Fried never ended up winding down Alameda Research because it owed $14 billion to FTX, Wang testified. When Wang told Bankman-Fried that Alameda was borrowing too much to be shut down, Wang testified that Bankman-Fried simply replied, "Acknowledged."
Had Bankman-Fried shut down Alameda, he might have ended his Twitter thread thus, as it appears in the draft: "Alameda Research is dead. Long live FTX."
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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