Former FTX CEO and ex-“Next Warren Buffet” Sam Bankman-Friend (known by friends and the entire internet as SBF) maintained his innocence in court yesterday while facing charges that could land him up to 115 years in the big house.
What happened: SBF pleaded not guilty to eight counts of fraud and conspiracy stemming from accusations that he used FTX, the crypto exchange he founded, and its sister company Alameda Research to defraud users of billions of dollars.
- The disgraced crypto wunderkind is currently out on bail (set at US$250 million) and living at his parents’ California home while awaiting his day in court.
Catch-up: The not-guilty plea comes despite the fact two of his closest associates, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang, already threw him under the bus after pleading guilty to fraud and agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors.
- SBF does have the option to change his plea, later on, meaning he could eventually plead guilty or no contest if his case falls apart (and a plea deal comes into play).
Why it matters: Whatever the final result of the trial is, it could be a bellwether for future crypto crime cases, with prosecutors looking to make an example of SBF and FTX while putting the crypto industry at large on notice.