Sam Bankman-Fried, Crypto Billionaire Wants Washington to Follow Him


Mr. Bankman-Fried has spent most of Crypto Bahamas commuting from his laptop to the convention stage. Even his mother, Barbara Fried, had trouble spending time alone with him: One afternoon, trying to catch his eye, blockchain bro in a polo shirt cornered Mr. Bankman-Fried and asked him to shoot a birthday message for a friend. A few minutes later he went backstage, shaking hands with Tony Blair and making awkward small talk about Brexit.

Unlike some crypto conferences, the meeting in the Bahamas was an invitation-only event and drew a large crowd. As a party gift, guests of FTX were offered discounts on a private jet company. A participant in the bus ride to a beach party, crypto yacht community — “The most exclusive club, the most comprehensive once you enter.”

In places like Puerto Rico, the arrival of crypto millionaires chasing tax cuts has caused housing prices to skyrocket. outraged longtime residents. But the Bahamas’ political leadership welcomed FTX with open arms. Prime Minister Philip Davis kicked off the first day of conference programming with an enthusiastic speech, declaring that crypto entrepreneurs are “better ready for innovation and change than most people on the planet.” Later, in an interview, Mr. Davis said he was pleasantly surprised by Mr. Bankman-Fried wearing a suit to a meeting in his office. Mr. Davis remembered saying, “We want you here.”

Mr. Bankman-Fried skipped most of the conference festivities, but he didn’t neglect his hosting duties. He had dinner with Mr. Blair and Mr. Clinton and rarely turned down a selfie. He also devoted ample time to Mr. Scaramucci, president of SALT, a corporate event organizer who helped organize the conference.

SBF’s double move with Mooch brought the end of Crypto Bahamas. Back in the green room, the FTX staff hugged and high-fied each other. Mr. Bankman-Fried was playing with his phone. He reached out and ran his hands through his hair. Then he checked his watch. The comedy part lasted about four minutes. “I have a lot of e-mails to take care of,” he said.

Outside, the convention center was emptying as hundreds of crypto enthusiasts headed for the airport. It was the silence before the impending collapse. To leave the resort, guests had to pass through the brightly lit hall of flashing slot machines at the Caribbean’s largest casino, Baha Mar.



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