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Sam Bankman-Fried found guilty – and the crypto industry may never recover | Science & Tech News

It took just four hours for a jury to find fallen “crypto king” Sam Bankman-Fried guilty of fraud.

The 31-year-old has been convicted of stealing billions of dollars from customers of FTX, which was the world’s second-largest crypto exchange before its dramatic collapse last year.

To this day, FTX users – at least 80,000 of them in the UK – remain out of pocket as the company’s new management scrambles to figure out where the money went.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is questioned by lawyer Mark Cohen (not pictured) as he testifies in his fraud trial over the collapse of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, at federal court in New York City, U.S., October 27, 2023 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
A court sketch of Sam Bankman-Fried

During the trial, three members of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle gave evidence – executives with a first-hand insight into how the doomed company was run.

Caroline Ellison, his on-off girlfriend and the CEO of sister trading firm Alameda Research, which contributed to FTX’s downfall, said it was a “relief” when the company went bust.

FTX co-founder Gary Wang said Alameda Research had been allowed to withdraw unlimited funds that belonged to the exchange’s customers without their knowledge – bankrolling risky bets and extravagant purchases.

And Nishad Singh, who was FTX’s head of engineering, revealed that Bankman-Fried had splashed out almost £1bn on celebrity endorsements, high-profile partnerships and lavish real estate – fuelling the illusion of success even further.

This trio had all entered into plea deals before the trial began, but Bankman-Fried has no such luxury – and faces up to 115 years behind bars when he is sentenced in March.