The Fall of a FTX: Inside Witness Testimony Reveals Deep Turmoil

The room was heavy with anticipation as Caroline Ellison, the government's star witness in their case against crypto magnate Sam Bankman-Fried, took the stand

by Faruk Imamovic
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The Fall of a FTX: Inside Witness Testimony Reveals Deep Turmoil
© Getty Images News/Micahel M. Santiago

The room was heavy with anticipation as Caroline Ellison, the government's star witness in their case against crypto magnate Sam Bankman-Fried, took the stand. Over two tension-filled days and more than nine hours of testimony, Ellison peeled back the curtain on the tumultuous final days of the crypto behemoth she once proudly helped shape.

A Tangle of Emotions: Relief Amid Regret

For Ellison, the weight of bearing the truth was both liberating and agonizing. "Even though it was overall the worst week of my life," she confided to Bankman-Fried during those dark days, "it was also the best mood I’ve been in in a year”.

It was a paradoxical sentiment she tried to convey to the jury – that while unveiling the unseemly truth brought a sense of relief, it also came with the agony of admitting betrayal. “We betrayed,” Ellison admitted, choking up.

She spoke of not having to lie anymore but lamented the cost at which this honesty came.

Bankman-Fried's List of Worries: A Glimpse into a Fraying Empire

During her testimony, Ellison offered an unexpected window into the psyche of Bankman-Fried.

She unveiled a personal to-do list from her Google Docs titled “Things Sam is freaking out about”. The list, she explained, was her way of keeping track of Bankman-Fried's ever-growing concerns. Topping the list was "getting regulators to crack down on Binance”.

Ellison clarified that Bankman-Fried viewed this as an avenue to boost FTX's market presence, assuming that a crackdown on their primary rival would usher their customers to FTX. This tactical maneuver, however, seemed to remain in the realm of wishful thinking, as Ellison recalled Bankman-Fried lamenting that “regulators had been promising [action against Binance] for a while, but it never happened”.

Ironically, Binance had once been considered a lifeline for FTX, poised to rescue it from financial peril in 2022. But as fate would have it, Binance deemed FTX's issues insurmountable, leaving them to grapple with their troubles alone.

Another intriguing item was “buying SNAP”. Ellison shed light on this entry, revealing Bankman-Fried's ambitions to purchase the parent company of the popular social media platform, Snapchat. Lastly, “Raising from MBS” delved into Bankman-Fried’s aspirations to secure funding from Saudi Arabia's influential Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

This trial, marked by dramatic revelations and intense emotions, is a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of the crypto world, and the highs and lows that accompany its journey. As more details emerge, the crypto community and the world at large eagerly await the final verdict.

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