Sam Bankman-Fried said that if he'd spent 'an hour a day' thinking about risk management FTX might not have collapsed




Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried  
  • Sam Bankman-Fried said FTX might not have collapsed if he'd spent "an hour a day" assessing risks.

  • "I wasn't spending any time or effort trying to manage risk on FTX," the crypto mogul told ABC News.

  • Its new CEO has slammed the previous leadership's "complete failure of corporate controls."

Sam Bankman-Fried said that if he'd spent "an hour a day" thinking about risk management, he could have prevented FTX's collapse earlier this month.

In an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Bankman-Fried said on Monday that the crypto exchange's failure was ultimately down to his problems with risk management.

"There is something maybe even deeply wrong there, which was I wasn't even trying," the crypto mogul said. "Like, I wasn't spending any time or effort trying to manage risk on FTX and that that was obviously a mistake."

"If I had been spending an hour a day thinking about risk management on FTX, I don't think that would have happened," he added. "And I don't feel good about that."

"I think I stopped working as hard for a bit. Honestly, if I looked back on myself, I think I got a little cocky, maybe more than a little bit, and I think part of me felt like we'd made it," Bankman-Fried added.

Just a month ago, FTX was one of the world's biggest crypto exchanges. But its rise suddenly came to a halt in early November, when a bombshell CoinDesk report revealed that most of the assets of Alameda Research, a trading firm set up by Bankman-Fried, were tied up in FTX's in-house token, FTT.

Just days later, FTX rival Binance announced that it would sell its FTT holdings, and other traders quickly scrambled to withdraw their own holdings, too.

Binance offered to bail FTX out, but then went back on its decision. FTX and Alameda Research, as well as dozens of affiliated companies, have begun Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, and Bankman-Fried stepped down from his position as FTX's CEO on November 11.

"I now have a lot more of a sense of, you know, operationally what I did wrong and what I should have done better," Bankman-Fried told Stephanopoulos. "But why wasn't I on top of my game?"

"Some part of it was just literal distraction," he continued, noting that he should have spent some time each day "taking a step back."

"It was only in the last month that I put together the magnitudes of everything," Bankman-Fried added.

New CEO John J. Ray has said that under the previous leadership the company had a "complete failure of corporate controls," with criticism of its "inexperienced" execs, poor book-keeping, and untrustworthy financial statements.

"I made a lot of mistakes," Bankman-Fried said at The New York Times' DealBook Summit on Wednesday. "There are things I would give anything to be able to do over again. I didn't ever try to commit fraud on anyone."

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