Liar or unlucky? Making sense of the Sam Bankman-Fried crypto trial

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“He had wealth, he had power, he had influence, but all of that was built on lies,” prosecutor Thane Rehn said on the opening day of hearings this week. “He was committing a massive fraud, and taking billions of dollars from thousands of victims.” In a book recently published by The Big Short writer Michael Lewis, the bestselling author said that at one time Bankman-Fried even explored “the legality of paying Donald Trump himself not to run for president”. Some advisers to Bankman-Fried informed him that Trump’s price was $US5 billion ($7.9 billion), Lewis wrote. Cryptocurrency is a relatively young asset class that experienced a meteoric rise, capturing the minds of risk-loving investors. It could mint overnight millionaires, or send investors to the wall. On the spectrum of risk, crypto sat closer to a casino than to government bonds. So not surprisingly, for the most part, it was eschewed by the investing establishment, particularly those managing the trillions of dollars of superannuation and pension funds.

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