Key players in the downfall of crypto king Bankman-Fried

Agence France-Presse

December 24, 2022 | 3:31 pm

NEW YORK, United States — The fall of cryptocurrency king Sam Bankman-Fried is a financial drama that includes other major players. Here’s a look at some of them:

Caroline Ellison

It would be hard to come up with a saner, nerdier backstory for Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of FTX subsidiary Alameda Research, who now faces up to 110 years in prison.

His parents are both academics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his father based a school textbook on his experiences coaching his middle school math club.

According to a profile in the “30 Under 30” segment of Forbes magazine, eight-year-old Ellison wrote her father an economics article analyzing the prices of stuffed animals.

The 28-year-old met Bankman-Fried when they both worked at Jane Street, a New York trading firm. She came to Alameda as a trader in 2018 and became co-CEO last year.

The pair are said to have been in a romantic relationship and lived together with other Alameda and FTX staffers in a villa in the Bahamas.

She told YouTube channel El Momento earlier this year that she’s been “pretty lucky” with her job and didn’t change a thing about her career.

He also reflected on taking losses as a trader, saying “over time you have to get comfortable with bigger and bigger swings in money.”

Gary Wang

Earlier this year, Forbes named Gary Wang as the richest on its list of billionaires under 30, estimating his fortune at nearly $6 billion.

“Congratulations Gary on becoming the richest person under 30 in the world,” tweeted Sam Bankman-Fried. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

The two reportedly met at a high school math camp and were roommates at MIT, where Wang studied math and computer science.

They founded FTX together in 2018 and Wang has been its technical director.

He faces 115 years in prison for, among other things, writing the code that allowed Alameda to hijack FTX client funds.

Unlike Bankman-Fried, Wang has kept a low profile online.

He and Ellison served on the board of the FTX Foundation, which was allegedly the charitable arm of FTX steeped in the ethos of “effective altruism.”

A bio on the foundation’s website says Wang previously worked at Google, where he “built systems to aggregate prices across millions of flights.”

He was part of the group of 10 Alameda characters who shared the Bahamian mansion.

Ryan Salami

Salame, 29, is seen as FTX’s top seller and is thought to be the first member of the Bankman-Fried circle to have turned away from his former employer.

The rural Massachusetts native was hired by Alameda after briefly working at accounting giant EY.

According to court documents, he told Bahamian authorities that customer deposits at FTX were used to bail out Alameda; that became the heart of the case against Bankman-Fried.

Salame, like Bankman-Fried and Ellison, was a fervent practitioner of “effective altruism,” a movement embraced by the cryptocurrency nouveau riche who are committed to distributing massive wealth efficiently.

The Georgetown University graduate was also a major donor to the Republican Party, donating $13.4 million in this year’s US midterm campaign.

Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried

Bankman-Fried’s father and mother are both professors at Stanford Law School. They raised their son in the thin air of the Northern California campus teeming with tech titans, influential academics, and big-name politicians.

Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried stood by their son during his meteoric rise, with his father, a tax law specialist, acting as legal counsel and philanthropist, accompanying him on lobbying trips to Washington.

A trained clinical psychologist, Bankman was a constant cheerleader of FTX and was on her payroll at times. She was present in the courtroom in the Bahamas following the arrest of her son on December 12.

Fried recently retired from Stanford and last month resigned from an NGO called Mind the Gap which uses statistics to determine the influence of political donations to the Democratic Party. His son was one of the main contributors to the group.

In congressional testimony, new FTX CEO John Ray, a bankruptcy specialist, said he was investigating Bankman and Fried about their potential involvement in their son’s company.

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