Sam Bankman-Fried Testifies That He Made ‘Larger Mistakes’ at FTX

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Mr. Bankman-Fried began his testimony with a mea culpa, acknowledging that FTX’s collapse had hurt people throughout the crypto industry. All he had wanted to do, he said, was “build the best product on the market.” Under questioning from Mr. Cohen, Mr. Bankman-Fried walked the jury through his biography, from his upbringing in Palo Alto, Calif., to his undergraduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In college, he said, he belonged to an unusual kind of fraternity that was “coed, nerdy and dry,” before graduating into a job at the Wall Street trading firm Jane Street. At times, he cast himself as something of a novice. When he started trading cryptocurrencies with Alameda in 2017, he said, “I had absolutely no idea how it worked.” His business empire grew faster than he had ever imagined, Mr. Bankman-Fried testified. He was soon working 22-hour days, he said, and receiving thousands of emails daily. He also started making political donations, he said, after concluding that “I could have a substantial impact on the world.” Mr. Bankman-Fried suggested that the sheer volume of work caused him to ignore important parts of the business. Asked whether FTX had a risk management department, he said, “We sure should have, but no we did not.”

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