Failed cryptocurrency tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of failed crypto exchange FTX, says he “hopes he didn’t kill crypto” after overseeing one of the most dramatic crashes in the industry’s history.
The 30-year-old, who faces several US federal investigations into the management of FTX client funds, was questioned in a new interview after the BBC invited him to his residence in the Bahamas.
The BBC’s cyber security correspondent Joe Tidy asked the former head of FTX if his actions had caused many people to lose confidence in the cryptocurrency industry.
Bankman-Fried said: “I hope not, I don’t think so. I think cryptocurrency is more resilient than that and I think if I killed cryptocurrency then it’s not what we all thought it was, because that’s what being resilient was meant to be.”
The disgraced crypto boss also said he would do anything to make money and return his exchange’s customers who lost all their funds.
He said, “I would give anything to be able to do that. And I will try if I can.”
Watch: Get Your Money Off Exchanges’ Warns Bitboy Crypto After FTX Scandal | Crypto miles
Speaking from a luxury compound in the Bahamas, the former billionaire denies cheating but says he “wasn’t nearly as competent as I thought I was”. He then admitted that he was worried about possible arrest while “surviving the night”.
Bankman-Fried told the BBC: “I’ll think about how we can help the world and if the users haven’t gotten much back, I’ll think about what I can do for them.
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“And I think at the very least I have a duty to the users of FTX to do the best I can.”
In early November, Coindesk journalist Ian Allison exposed irregularities in the balance sheet of FTX and its trading arm Alameda Research.
The balance sheet revealed that the $14.6 billion (£12 billion) in assets held by Alameda Research is heavily stacked with a large stake in FTX’s own FTT token (FTT-USD).
With an estimated $5.1 billion outstanding at Alameda Research, FTT holders experienced increasing panic that margin calls on those loans could decimate the value of FTT.
A raid on the bank followed, ignited by a warning tweets from Binance CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao.
FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11.
During FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings, the trustee’s newly appointed managing director, John J Ray III, revealed his dismay at the way the exchange was operating.
He said: “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete lack of reliable financial information as has occurred here.
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“From compromised system integrity and flawed regulatory oversight overseas to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially vulnerable individuals, this situation is unprecedented.”
On Monday, bitcoin (BTC-USD) fell to $16,933, down 1.4% in 24 hours. Ethereum (ETH-USD) fell 2.8% last week to $1,246.
Other altcoins fared even worse with Cardano (ADA-USD) down 6% last week to $0.30 and Dogecoin (DOGE-USD) down 16% last week to $0.087.