Nov 29, 2022 - Economy

Exclusive: Sam Bankman-Fried says he's down to $100,000

 Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sam Bankman-Fried. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sam Bankman-Fried had $100,000 left in his bank account last time he checked. In an interview, the former FTX CEO pointed to both personal failures and regulatory gaps to help explain the implosion of his company.

Why it matters: Bankman-Fried's late Monday phone interview with Axios comes as FTX is working through a messy bankruptcy process and the company's creditors remain in the dark about what, if anything, they will be able to recoup.

What he's saying: "Am I allowed to say a negative number?" he said, 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.

  • "It's complicated. Basically everything I had was just tied up in the company," he added.
  • His personal wealth at one point reached $26.5 billion.

Yes, but: Bankman-Fried said regulation and proper oversight could have helped protect FTX from its collapse.

  • "I think one thing is... if you looked at the reporting, and CFTC applications, that would have been extremely helpful here on international rigor," Bankman-Fried said.
  • "There's certainly an extent to which that I wish there had been someone who wasn't me who was in charge of managing conflicts of interest," he said, in a nod to the bankruptcy court claim that he ran FTX like a personal fiefdom.
  • "I wish that I had more reporting and transparency to outside parties."

Zoom in: Bankman-Fried, however, added that he bears the brunt of the blame.

  • "I wish I'd been more careful... I obviously deeply regret this. I've been focusing on volume, rather than positions for balances," he said. "I should have been more responsible, and I should have been more on top of what was going on."

Bottom line: Investors and creditors have their share of regrets as well, given the tens of billions in market value that was wiped out in a matter of days.

Read more from this interview in tomorrow's Axios Pro Fintech Deals

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