FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried found guilty of fraud

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Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty over his role in the collapse of crypto exchange FTX. The verdict caps a yearlong saga that took the 31-year-old Bankman-Fried from a billionaire living in a luxury apartment in the Bahamas to a defendant in one of the biggest white-collar crime cases since Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme that fell apart in 2009. FTX was once one of the most trusted names in crypto. The trial has been closely watched by regulators, investors and the crypto community for signs of a potential larger crackdown on the largely unregulated crypto market. The verdict comes a year after FTX entered a death spiral that fueled a panic in the trillion-dollar crypto industry and left an estimated 1 million customers facing potential losses. Prior to its collapse, the exchange attracted millions of users and a coterie of A-list backers, such as Tom Brad and Gisele Bundchen. FTX, founded by Bankman-Fried in 2019, billed itself as a safe and easy way to start trading cryptocurrencies – digital assets whose values are based largely on a collective hope for their future application, which remains murky. In the early 2020s, with interest rates at zero and millions of amateur investors stuck at home, FTX’s popularity as a crypto portal skyrocketed. By 2022, FTX was airing Super Bowl ads and plastering its name on the Miami Heat’s arena. But FTX collapsed into bankruptcy on November 11, 2022 after what was effectively a run on the bank – a customer panic sparked by a leaked document that suggested irregular financial dealings between FTX and another firm owned by Bankman-Fried. More to come.

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