Sam Bankman-Fried, the former cryptocurrency exchange CEO – and once one of the richest people in the world – is down to his last $100,000 after the rapid failure of FTX, Axios is reporting.
The investor and founder of FTX pointed to both personal failures and regulatory gaps to help explain the implosion of his company in an interview with the outlet.
It was one of the largest crypto exchanges and valued at an estimated $32 billion in January. You could find its name attached to an NBA stadium or in commercials with celebrities like Tom Brady and Larry David.
At one point, Bankman-Fried’s personal wealth reached $26.5 billion.
“Am I allowed to say a negative number?” he told the outlet, when asked about his personal finances. “I mean, I have no idea. I don’t know. I had $100,000 in my bank account last I checked,” he said.
Bankman-Fried said “basically everything” he had was tied up in the now-failed company, making his financial situation “complicated.”
Earlier this month, on Nov. 11, FTX declared bankruptcy and Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO after reports that Almeda Research, a trading firm founded by Bankman-Fried, relied heavily on a token issued by FTX.
The unraveling of FTX started when news siteCoinDesk reported Almeda Research had a balance sheet full of FTT, the cryptocurrency issued by FTX.
The revelation spooked clients and investors. Rival exchange Binance said it would sell its holdings of FTX tokens and pulled out of an agreement to take over the company.
Bankman-Fried has said his single biggest mistake had been filing for bankruptcy protection.
“If I hadn’t done that, withdrawals would be opening up in a month with customers fully whole,” he said, according to screenshots of the Twitter direct messages.
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Bankman-Fried said he should have tried to raise more money instead of declaring the company bankrupt. The Wall Street Journal reported Bankman-Fried had unsuccessfully searched for commitments from investors after filing for bankruptcy.
Contributing: Amanda Pérez Pintado
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.