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Monday, Jan 30, 2023

Coinbase CEO slams Sam Bankman-Fried: 'This guy just committed a $10 billion fraud, and why is he getting treated with kid gloves?'

Coinbase CEO slams Sam Bankman-Fried: 'This guy just committed a $10 billion fraud, and why is he getting treated with kid gloves?'

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has received "a lot of softball interviews" from the media, according to Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.
Sam Bankman-Fried is getting treated "with kid gloves" despite facing allegations he committed a $10 billion fraud, said Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.

Watching how FTX's collapse has unfolded, Armstrong told Stratechery's Ben Thompson in a podcast interview that he feels that the "mainstream media" has given the fallen cryptocurrency CEO "a lot of softball interviews."

"I mean, this guy just committed a $10 billion fraud, and why is he getting treated with kid gloves?" Armstrong asked.

He pointed to a recent Twitter exchange between Bankman-Fried and California representative Maxine Waters, where the congresswoman "very politely," as Armstrong said, asked the FTX founder to attend the US House Committee on Financial Services' hearing on December 13.

"We appreciate that you've been candid in your discussions about what happened at #FTX," Waters tweeted. "Your willingness to talk to the public will help the company's customers, investors, and others. To that end, we would welcome your participation in our hearing on the 13th."

Bankman-Fried replied that when he's "finished learning and reviewing what happened, I would feel like it was my duty to appear before the committee and explain," adding that he's "not sure that will happen by the 13th."


Armstrong described Bankman-Fried's reply as "politely deferring," and said the exchange "was bizarre." Waters has since said "a subpoena is definitely on the table," if Bankman-Fried doesn't show up.

"Compare her tweets about Mark Zuckerberg for instance, who never stole $10 billion from people, whatever you think about the guy," Armstrong said.

Waters criticized Zuckerberg in 2019 during his plans to launch a global digital currency called Libra.

"Misuse! Manipulation! Discrimination! Criminal Activity!," Waters tweeted. "Just a few of Facebook's egregious offenses & now they have the nerve to launch a #BigTechTakeover in the form of a currency that could rival the U.S. Dollar?! Is it 10 o'clock yet? Mr. Zuckerberg & I have a lot to discuss." 


Armstrong said Bankman-Fried's alleged movement of customer funds from FTX to his trading company, Alameda Research, is "a violation not only of the terms of service as it's written as far as I understand it, but it's also probably just against the law and outright fraud."

He's not the only crypto CEO who's criticized the former FTX CEO recently.

Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, the CEO of Binance, tweeted on Tuesday that, "SBF is one of the greatest fraudsters in history, he is also a master manipulator when it comes to media and key opinion leaders." He added that FTX "killed themselves (and their users) because they stole billions of dollars of user funds."


Binance had initially planned to bail out its rival at the beginning of November after FTX asked for help amid a "liquidity crunch."

The next day, however, Binance pulled out of the deal, pointing to "news reports regarding mishandled customer funds and alleged US agency investigations."

Armstrong said even if given the chance to interview Bankman-Fried himself, he doesn't "think I have any questions at this point." 

"But I kind of just want to turn the page on the whole thing, to be honest," Armstrong told Thompson. "The bankruptcy lawyers, and the DOJ, and everybody are going to have to figure out how to hopefully put these folks behind bars. Not just Sam, but the other people involved."
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