Payment Expert’s Blockchain Bulletin analyses how the world of blockchain is constantly evolving and heavily impacting the payments industry, with cryptocurrencies, NFTs and the metaverse revolutionising the space. 

This week, a year removed from the FTX collapse, and with Sam Bankman-Fried now found guilty of several counts of fraud, Payment Expert took a closer look behind the man who was behind crypto’s most notorious collapses. 

How SBF cultivated the perfect facade

In the first part of Payment Expert’s deep dive into the mind of the notorious crypto kingpin Sam Bankman-Fried, panellists at a recent GBG event revealed how he moulded the perfect clean-cut image to make him and FTX a reputable figure. 

The curly hair, the casual white-tee, and the youthfulness of SBF was a part of his brand and character that helped FTX gain mass amounts of funding from reputable venture capitalists and the endorsement of several famous celebrities. 

This image also transcended into politics, as the former FTX CEO was not only sending large donations to the Democratic Party, but also the Republican Party, yearning so much for adulation that he tried to grab it from both sides of the political spectrum. 

However, it came to light that SBF was using customer’s money for these political donations, amongst other personal luxuries, resulting as we know of the calamitous collapse of the exchange in November 2022 as he was charged for several counts of fraud and wire fraud. 

The ‘extraordinary psychodrama’ of the SBF trial 

The trial of Sam Bankman-Fried was one, if not the most significant criminal trials in crypto’s relatively short history. 

Joshua Oliver, who covered the month-long trial in New York, described some of SBF’s cloest confidants, Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang, Nishad Singh and more, crying on stage as they revealed the most damning details of his role in FTX’s collapse. 

He dubbed it an ‘extraordinary psychodrama’ of how a bunch of relatively young people – with Storm Theunissen revealing a majority of FTX employees were under the age of 30 – were placed in an extremely intense position. 

As we know now, SBF was found unanimously guilty on all seven charges against him and awaits a separate trial in March next year on money laundering charges. 

The key lessons learned from the FTX collapse 

A year removed from the collapse of one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, we learned of the casualties in the aftermath. 

Sunil Kavuri bravely revealed at the GBG event in London that he lost £2.1m due to the collapse and explained when and why he invested his money into FTX, owing to the good public image of the company and SBF. 

This led into a deeper conversation of how regulators across the world reacted to the collapse and what they have done since and whether crypto will sustain the long-term consequences for its future.