FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried said the collapsed crypto firm shouldn’t have filed for bankruptcy and slammed regulators in an interview published by news site Vox on Wednesday.
Bankman-Fried, known as SBF, later came back the comments and said the direct messages he exchanged with the reporter on Twitter were not meant to be public.
“It sucks,” Bankman-Fried said in a Twitter thread. “I’m so sorry that things ended the way they did.”
Cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy and Bankman-Fried resigned as chief executive last week after reports that Almeda Research, a trading company founded by Bankman-Fried, was leaning heavily on a token issued by FTX.
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The rapid public disclosure of FTX began earlier this month when news site CoinDesk reported that Almeda Research had a full track record of FTT, the cryptocurrency issued by FTX.
The revelation scared customers and inventors alike. Rival exchange Binance said it would sell its FTX token holdings and pulled out of a deal to take over the business.
FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11.
In the interview, Bankman-Fried said regulators are “making everything worse” and “not protecting customers at all.”
“F—regulators,” Bankman-Fried said.
He also said that his previous calls for cryptocurrency regulation were only about public relations.
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FTX’s bankruptcy was a “mistake”
Bankman-Fried said his biggest mistake was filing for bankruptcy protection.
“If I hadn’t done that, withdrawals would open in a month with fully-full customers,” he said, according to screenshots of Twitter’s direct messages.
Bankman-Fried said he should have tried to raise more money instead of declaring the company bankrupt. The Wall Street Journal reported that Bankman-Fried unsuccessfully sought commitments from investors after filing for bankruptcy.
Bankman-Fried said those responsible for FTX’s bankruptcy process were “trying to burn everything to ashes out of shame.”
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Bankman-Fried later echoed some of his comments in a Twitter thread, saying regulators had “an impossible joband some “deeply impressed” him “with their knowledge and thoughtfulness.”
“Some of the things I said were thoughtless or too strong – I was speaking up and didn’t intend it to be public,” Bankman-Fried tweeted. “I guess at this point what I write is leaking anyway.”
A Vox spokesman told Reuters that all communications with its reporters were recorded, unless the subject and reporter agree otherwise.
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After his resignation, Bankman-Fried was replaced on November 11 as CEO by John J. Ray III, who oversaw Enron’s bankruptcy.
Ray tried to steer the company away from Bankman-Fried during a filing in federal bankruptcy court on Thursday.
“The Debtors have made it clear to employees and the public that Mr. Bankman-Fried is not employed by the Debtors and does not speak for them,” Ray said. “Mr. Bankman-Fried, currently in the Bahamas, continues to make erratic and misleading public statements.”
He specifically cited Bankman-Fried’s “f—regulators” comment in the court document and didn’t mince words when describing the situation to FTX.
“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of reliable financial reporting as has happened here,” Ray said.
“From the compromised integrity of systems and faulty regulatory oversight overseas, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented. “
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