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足球预测(www.99cx.vip):Opinion: Crypto tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried didn’t lose a US$16bil fortune. His ‘fortune’ was never real

足球预测(www.99cx.vip):Opinion: Crypto tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried didn’t lose a US$16bil fortune. His ‘fortune’ was never real

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All the talk about Bankman-Fried suddenly losing his entire fortune isn’t designed to explain to laypersons what happened to FTX. It’s designed to hide the fact that his fans and investors made a terrific blunder. — AFP

The Greek tragedy unfolding in the financial press over the past week is the story of Sam Bankman-Fried, the would-be cryptocurrency tycoon and political kingmaker whose multibillion-dollar empire has sunk like the Titanic after its encounter with the iceberg.

Bloomberg put it this way: “Bankman-Fried’s Assets Plummet From US$16bil to Zero in Days.”

The story under that headline reported that Bankman-Fried’s entire fortune had been “wiped out” in “one of history’s greatest-ever destructions of wealth”.

Yet, something doesn’t compute here. It’s that US$16bil (RM72.80bil) in assets can’t simply disappear in a matter of days – not if they were real in the first place.

Bankman-Fried either had US$16bil (RM72.80bil) in assets at the start of last week and still has a sizable share of it today, or zero now and close to zero then. Both things can’t be true.

Based on reports that Bankman-Fried and his cryptocurrency exchange firm, FTX, are now under investigation by federal prosecutors and securities regulators, I’m voting that US$16bil (RM72.80bil) was mythical and that zero is the right number.

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That’s not the narrative being wholesaled by the financial press and investment pundits. Their story is that Bankman-Fried had it all, then lost it all. He has played into this narrative himself, via a series of tweets last week in which he apologised for, among other things, overestimating how much he had available to pay customers who wanted to withdraw their funds from FTX.

“*I*, ultimately, should have been on top of everything,” he tweeted. “I clearly failed in that. I'm sorry.”

In other words, things were going swimmingly, until FTX hit a pothole. Bankman-Fried says he’s as surprised as you are.

Is this plausible?

What’s known thus far, according to an FTX balance sheet published by the Financial Times, is that the firm recently had about US$900mil (RM4.09bil) in liquid assets against nearly US$9bil (RM40.95bil) in liabilities. That means that FTX, the core of Bankman-Fried’s purported fortune, was as much as US$8bil (RM36.40bil) in the hole.

Not all those liquid assets are worth as much as the balance sheet states. It mentions about US$472mil (RM2.14bil) in stock of the brokerage Robinhood. But Robinhood shares have fallen in price by about 20% over the last 11 days, so that figure may be, um, optimistic by nearly US$100mil (RM455mil).

When initial reports of FTX’s upside-down capital structure leaked out recently, customers staged a run on the exchange, ordering withdrawals of billions of dollars in deposits that FTX couldn’t provide. FTX has now filed for bankruptcy, and Bankman-Fried has stepped down as CEO.

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