Not that long ago, Sam Bankman-Fried was on top of the world. Sporting a net worth of approximately $15.6 billion, Bankman-Fried was the CEO of FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange platform launched in 2019 that had accumulated more than a million consumers by 2022. At 30 years old, he was extremely successful — that is, until last week when he was exposed as a con artist.
After a Nov. 2 article from the digital currency news site Coindesk revealed that FTX and Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency trading firm Alameda Research had notable overlaps on their balance sheets that called into question FTX’s liquidity, users proceeded to withdraw $6 billion from the company, leading to its bankruptcy. As Gizmodo reported, Bankman-Fried has “admitted to funneling billions of dollars in customer funds to his own hedge fund,” which “upend[ed] the entire cryptocurrency sector.” Since his FTX’s collapse, Bankman-Fried has lost nearly all of his accumulated wealth.
While riding high as a crypto bro, Bankman-Fried utilized his fortunes to finance both left-wing causes and Democrat candidates. During the 2022 midterms, he was the second-largest donor to Democrat candidates, spending roughly $37 million throughout the election cycle. Among the beneficiaries of his mega-dollar donations were left-wing political action committees, such as Protect Our Future, and the Democratic National Committee.
And while Bankman-Fried’s financial donations certainly deserve to be scrutinized, it’s also worth taking a glance at the numerous public figures, especially Democrats, who surrounded themselves with the former crypto tycoon over the years — as well as those who plan to do so in the near future.
Bill Clinton and Tony Blair
In addition to both being former world leaders, Bill Clinton in the U.S. and Tony Blair in the U.K., these two men have ties to FTX. Back in April, Clinton and Blair participated in a panel hosted by Bankman-Fried at an event called 2022 Crypto Bahamas. According to Fox Business, Clinton was compensated for his appearance.
Rep. Maxine Waters
In her role as head of the House Financial Services Committee, California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters recently announced that the body will hold a hearing next month over FTX’s bankruptcy. Despite her attempts to look tough, Waters has declined to say whether candidates that received campaign donations from FTX should return such funds. Waters has also been pictured alongside Bankman-Fried in the past.
Obama CFTC Commissioner Jill Sommers
Having been commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under the Obama administration, Jill Sommers officially joined FTX’s Board of Directions back in September, saying in a statement that she was “honored” to help “advance the mission of reshaping market structure” in the country.
Janet Yellen, Mike Pence, Mark Zuckerberg, and Volodymyr Zelensky
On Nov. 30, The New York Times is slated to host an event in New York City called the DealBook Summit, where Bankman-Fried is currently listed as one of its guest speakers alongside Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, former Vice President Mike Pence, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. The cost to attend the event is $2,499.
The former Trump White House communications director-turned-Trump critic — who subsequently helped launch a political action committee to get Joe Biden elected president — is also among those with financial connections to Bankman-Fried and FTX. Back in September, FTX purchased a 30 percent stake in SkyBridge Capital (also known as SALT), a global investment firm founded by Scaramucci in 2005.
Since FTX’s collapse, Scaramucci has held back strong criticism of Bankman-Fried’s handling of the situation, instead saying that he “would implore Sam and his family to tell the truth to their investors.”
It isn’t just high-profile Democrats and other political figures who have buddy-buddied up to Bankman-Fried. Among the most notable celebrities involved with FTX is NFL quarterback Tom Brady, who not only invested in the company but was also a brand ambassador alongside his ex-wife Gisele Bündchen.
Having been a brand ambassador for FTX, NBA star Steph Curry was among the numerous high-profile figures named in a lawsuit filed against the company on Tuesday. A prominent celebrity who’s previously endorsed Democrats Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden for president, Curry filmed a commercial promoting FTX that was released earlier this year.
Much like Curry, former “Saturday Night Live” star Larry David is among the notable FTX brand ambassadors named in a lawsuit for his role in promoting the platform. Earlier this year, the comedian appeared in an FTX commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.