His $16B Net Worth Just Went Poof

Sam Bankman-Fried's billions vanished with collapse of FTX crypto exchange
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2022 1:27 PM CST

Last year, Forbes described Sam Bankman-Fried, then-CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, as the richest person in the world under 30, with an estimated net worth of more than $20 billion. Bankman-Fried is no longer under 30, no longer the CEO of FTX, and according to Bloomberg, his net worth might be lower than that of the average 30-year-old. Bloomberg says Bankman-Fried's fortune, which had already fallen from $26 billion to $16 billion, vanished this week in "one of the greatest wealth destructions in the history of the crypto world." FTX filed for bankruptcy protection after a liquidity crisis caused its collapse this week, and the company says Bankman-Fried is no longer in charge.

Sources tell the AP that the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating whether offenses were committed at FTX. Before its sudden implosion, FTX was the world's third-largest cryptocurrency exchange. Earlier this year, it spent $30 million on a Super Bowl ad starring Larry David. Bankman-Fried discussed the collapse and apologized in a Twitter thread Thursday, the day before the bankruptcy filing, saying, "I'm sorry. That's the biggest thing. I f---ed up, and should have done better." When Forbes contacted him Wednesday to confirm that he should be taken off its list of billionaires, Bankman-Fried said, "Hey, not totally clear but certainly can't confidently dispute, will update later if new info comes out."

Bankman-Fried "cultivated a reputation as a boy genius with a host of endearing quirks, including a habit of sleeping on a beanbag at the office," per the New York Times, but he has now been abandoned by allies. Fortune reports that Bankman-Fried was the Democratic Party's second-biggest individual donor during the most recent election cycle, behind only George Soros. He also made donations to moderate Republicans. Bankman-Fried, however, might be able to deal with the sudden loss of wealth more easily than other billionaires: In April, he spoke of his plans to give most of his wealth away, saying he only planned to keep $100,000 a year. "I don't want a yacht," he said. (Read more Sam Bankman-Fried stories.)

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