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Using your customers as an ATM


Those funds won’t embezzle themselves:

A few weeks before FTX collapsed, a top executive at the cryptocurrency exchange met with its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, to express a gnawing concern.

The executive had recently learned that Alameda Research, the crypto trading company that Mr. Bankman-Fried also founded, had borrowed roughly $13 billion from FTX. Alameda was in trouble: The firm had just recorded a loss of about $5 billion, which appeared to include money that FTX’s customers had deposited with the exchange for safekeeping.

When he was approached, Mr. Bankman-Fried acknowledged there was a problem, according to documents describing the conversation obtained by The New York Times. Mr. Bankman-Fried explained to the colleague that the “situation was causing him concern,” the documents show, and that it was hurting his productivity.

The episode, described in private communications between the governments of the United States and the Bahamas, offers new insight into the final days of FTX, as the company’s top executives started to panic. In November, a run on deposits sent the exchange into meltdown, exposing a gaping hole in the firm’s accounts and forcing it to file for bankruptcy. Last month, federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged Mr. Bankman-Fried, 30, with fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations.

By the Sacred Principles of Effective Altruism, letting your suckers customers keep their money when your Big Brain could be figuring out how to use it would be inefficient. Am I doing this right?

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