Sam Bankman-Fried had a promising entrepreneur career ahead of him. Bankman-Fried, known as SBF, began his career as a trader at Jane Street Capital after studying math and physics at MIT. In 2017, he left Jane Street to strike out on his own, starting a cryptocurrency hedge fund he called Alameda Research.
The young MIT graduate founded the FTX cryptocurrency exchange in 2019, and it quickly rose to become one of the largest in the world. Bankman-Fried was praised for his business acumen and his willingness to take risks. He was also a vocal advocate for cryptocurrency regulation.
But in November 2022, FTX collapsed in one of the biggest financial scandals in recent history. It was revealed that Bankman-Fried had committed fraud on a massive scale, misusing billions of dollars in customer funds. He was arrested in the Bahamas in December 2022 and extradited to the United States.
In November 2023, Bankman-Fried was convicted on all seven counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering.
But how could someone like him carry out such a risky endeavor? We can reduce it to greed, which certainly is a reason, we could pin it on him having a mental disorder, or we can really call it what it is and that’s self-sabotage.
One of Bankman-Fried's biggest mistakes was his arrogant and dismissive attitude towards regulators. He repeatedly downplayed the need for regulation in the cryptocurrency industry, and he even lobbied against regulations that would have made it more difficult for him to commit fraud.
Bankman-Fried also made the mistake of commingling customer funds with funds from his own hedge fund, Alameda Research. This allowed him to use customer money to make risky investments and to cover losses at Alameda. This was a clear violation of regulatory guidelines, and it put customer funds at risk.
Another way that Bankman-Fried self-sabotaged was by making lavish donations to politicians and charities. While these donations may have been made with good intentions, they also served to create a perception of Bankman-Fried as a wealthy and powerful individual. This made him a target for scrutiny and criticism, and it ultimately led to his downfall.
Bankman-Fried also made the mistake of being too open and transparent about his personal life and business dealings. He gave numerous interviews and posted frequently on social media, often sharing sensitive information about his company and its customers. This made it easy for his critics to find dirt on him and to paint him as a reckless and irresponsible businessman.
In the end, Bankman-Fried's self-sabotage led to his own downfall and the collapse of his company. He is now facing a long prison sentence, and his reputation is in shambles.
Self-sabotage is like a child who lacks awareness. It is up to you, the adult, to set boundaries and provide wise counsel to that inner child. If not, that child will run wild causing you more heartache, pain and suffering you never could have imagined.
Written by Eric White