How SBF’s Hedge Fund Imploded

Let’s say I create $1 million worth of Frankcoin. Will you loan me $1 million with my Frankcoin as collateral? 


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Not if you’re in your right mind, you won’t. But that’s exactly what lenders did for Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research. 

From a report out this morning in The New York Times:

 …Alameda, which held a large stake in the token, began using its FTT holdings as collateral for more loans to facilitate its trading activities. 

Like Frankcoin, FTT had no real value. It was created out of thin air by SBF.

This didn’t stop Alameda from making bold claims in a presentation to lenders:

…it could offer lenders “high returns with no risk” and “no downside.”

At this point, lenders should’ve known this was BS. There are no returns without risk. 

Anyone guaranteeing you a return is a fraud. Con artists, Bernie Madoff among them, love to promise you a sure thing. 

Perhaps these lenders were blinded by the big returns Alameda promised. 

For years, this house of cards stood. But as crypto came under pressure this year, Alameda’s fraud became harder to conceal:

With crypto prices falling, more lenders wanted their money back. The falling prices also reduced the value of FTT, which Alameda had used as collateral for some loans. As the firm struggled to pay lenders back, FTX resorted to using funds that customers had deposited with the exchange for ease of trading to pay Alameda’s lenders back.

What can we learn from this, as investors? 

Never believe anyone who says they can guarantee you a return. There are no guarantees. 

Don’t call something someone invented an asset. It’s funny money. 

And never let the promise of riches blind you to reality. 

What do you think of FTX and Alameda’s collapse? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know! 

Have a great weekend everyone! 

More on tech:

Talking FTX, Twitter and Startups at Starta VC

Is SBF Headed to Prison?

FTX Blows A Massive Hole in Tiger’s Portfolio

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Photo: FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried

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