At the end of a 15,000-word Twitter thread he never posted, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, offered a blunt assessment of his predicament.
“I’m broke and wearing an ankle monitor and one of the most hated people in the world,” he wrote. “There’s probably nothing more I can do to make a positive impact on my life.”
He added: “And the truth is I did what I thought was right.”
After arresting Mr. Bankman-Fried, charged with fraud in the FTX collapse and placed under house arrest in December, has written hundreds of pages of sometimes rambling autobiography, ranging from childhood memories to mathematical calculations.
In a draft of his unsent posts, which he formatted as a series of tweets spanning about 70 typed pages, he criticized some of his closest colleagues, interspersing his arguments of photos from his high school years and stock photos of popcorn and a garden maze. Every few pages, a key moment in the narrative is accompanied by a link to a music video by Alicia Keys, Katy Perry or Rihanna.
Once a prolific poster on Twitter, now known as X, Mr. Bankman-Fried, 31, labeled the thread “a draft of a draft of a draft of an idea” and included links to 29 other files about FTX. One document, titled “Inception V2,” is a lengthy attack on the company’s bankruptcy attorneys, featuring a screenshot from the 2010 Christopher Nolan film. A separate link pulls up a spreadsheet that lists Mr. orders Bankman-Fried on Amazon from 2021.
The approximately 250 pages of documents, which have not been reported yet, provide a window into Mr. Bankman-Fried spent eight months in home detention before a judge revoked his bail in August. The writings also offer new details about his possible legal defense despite what his lawyers revealed in court, shedding light on how he might justify his actions once his trial on October 3.
Prosecutors charged Mr. Bankman-Fried of orchestrating a scheme to funnel FTX customer funds to a hedge fund he founded, Alameda Research, so his companies could make venture capital investments, buy real estate and donate to politicians. He pleaded not guilty and faces decades in prison if convicted.
During his house arrest, Mr. Bankman-Fried sent the documents to Tiffany Fonga social media influencer with a channel on YouTube about the crypto industry. Ms. shared them. Fong in The New York Times.
“He liked that I wasn’t working for anybody,” he said. “He thinks I can only draw my own conclusions.”
A representative for Mr. Bankman-Fried.
In several documents, Mr. Bankman-Fried blamed Caroline Ellison, his ex-girlfriend and former lieutenant, for helping to cause the FTX explosion. He described her as poorly equipped for the job he gave her as head of Alameda, saying she cried in meetings with him and refused to implement trading strategies that would have protected her businesses from a market crash.
“He continued to avoid talking about risk management — avoiding my suggestions — until it was too late,” he wrote in a document titled “Alameda’s Failure to Hedge.” “Every time that I reached out with suggestions, it just made her feel worse. I’m sure being an ex didn’t help.”
In the Twitter draft, Mr. Bankman-Fried also criticized Sam Trabucco, who is Alameda’s co-chief executive. Mr. Trabucco and Ms. Ellison, the document said. And while Mr. Trabucco has a good instinct for risk management, Mr. Bankman-Fried wrote, he is “in the process of quietly exiting” in late 2021.
Mr. prefers Trabucco spends his time “going on dates with a ton of guys while sailing around the world on a boat,” Mr. Bankman-Fried. He then links to a music video, “Cheers (Drink to That)” by Rihanna.
Ms. Ellison and two of Mr. Bankman-Fried pleaded guilty to fraud charges and agreed to testify against him. A fourth pleaded guilty this month without promising to cooperate. Mr. Trabucco has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Attorneys for Mr. Trabucco and Ms. Ellison.
Once recognized as a credible force in the loosely regulated crypto world, FTX imploded in November, costing customers billions of dollars and devastating the industry. After his arrest, Mr. Bankman-Fried was granted bail and allowed to live with her parents, longtime Stanford law professors, at their home in Palo Alto, Calif. They got a German shepherd named Sandor to act as his watchdog.
For many months, Mr. Bankman-Fried guests such as author Michael Lewis, who is finishing a book about him, as well as several journalists.
Few people have had as much access as Ms. Fong, the influencer, who had had an online relationship with mr. Bankman-Fried before FTX failed. Ms. visited him. Fong at his parents’ home more than 10 times, he said, and recorded conversations with him that he could later release.
During house arrest, Mr. Bankman-Fried spent most of his time studying, Ms. Fong, where he played computer games, set up a chessboard and sometimes slept on the couch. Most days, he said, he worked on his legal defense, recording thoughts about the case in hundreds of pages of Google documents. Mr. also told him. Bankman-Fried that her family is putting up a pickleball court for her in the yard.
Given by Mr. Bankman-Fried to Ms. Fong the documents in late January. It is not clear what he expects him to do with them. Ms. Fong, who lost money in the collapse of crypto company Celsius Network, said he sympathized with the victims of FTX and was skeptical of many of Mr. Bankman-Fried. He sent a document to a former Alameda engineer, Aditya Baradwajwho responded to him with a point-by-point rejection of Mr. Bankman-Fried, noting that Alameda’s hedging would have been “irrelevant” if FTX had not misappropriated customer money.
In the draft Twitter thread, Mr. Bankman-Fried traces the growth of his businesses from his childhood in Palo Alto to the penthouse he bought in the Bahamas near FTX headquarters. He remembered that he met Mr. Trabucco at a math camp, where his future teammate went out after curfew to bake cheesecake brownies, and he described his early admiration for Ms. Ellison, who called him “wicked smart.” He also posted several personal photos, including one that shows him holding a shirt that Mr. Trabucco in high school.
In another section, Mr. Bankman-Fried linked to a document he wrote in 2019, “Tonight We Are Young,” an account of a conference in Taiwan where he interacted with Changpeng Zhao, known as CZ, the founder of the crypto exchange Binance. (He also included a link to Fun’s “We Are Young” music video.)
“Tonight was a night about booze and women and lasers and loud, booming music, but there was a strange microclimate that seemed to follow me,” Mr. Bankman-Fried. “I passed by CZ a few more times, and every time he made eye contact with his eye candy and hugged me: People think about us, a lot.”
In November, Mr. Zhao’s posts started a run on deposits that helped fuel the FTX breakout. A Binance representative did not respond to a request for comment.
Some of the documents of Mr. Bankman-Fried explains the arguments made by her lawyers in court. In files titled “Inception V2,” “Inception V3” and “Inception Evidence,” Mr. Bankman-Fried said Sullivan & Cromwell, the law firm handling FTX’s bankruptcy, developed the narrative he used user funds.
“They played it incredibly well,” he wrote. “If it doesn’t ruin almost everything I value in life, I tip my cap to them.”
A spokesman for Sullivan and Cromwell declined to comment. Prosecutors have argued that Mr. Bankman-Fried’s claims about the company’s value in “innuendo.”
In some documents, Mr. Bankman-Fried also read his history with Ms. Ellison, who wrote that their relationship ended “the same way most of my relationships end.”
“They want more intimacy and commitment and public visibility than I do,” she wrote in the thread, “and I feel claustrophobic.”
In another document, he said that Ms. Ellison to discourage Alameda’s aggressive merchandising strategy, despite his urging. At one point, she recalled, he sent her a message that amounted to “the worst thing I’ve ever said to her.” (He said he no longer had a record of the message.)
“If Alameda had hedged, it would have remained solvent and prevented the whole sad story,” he wrote.
His concerns about Alameda rose in spring 2022 as he was packing for a trip to Washington, Mr. Bankman-Fried wrote in the Twitter draft. A group of employees including Ms. Ellison was frantically discussing a possible deficiency in the company’s accounts. Mr. Bankman-Fried was only half-committed, he wrote, but heard enough to realize the conversation centered on an account labeled fiat@ — the vehicle regulators said FTX executives used to redirect customer funds to other projects.
“I’ve heard that name before, but I don’t really know what it is,” he wrote.
When he pleaded guilty, Ms. He is Ellison and Mr. Bankman-Fried conspired to prop up Alameda’s finances with customer money. He denied misusing the funds.
“As a general matter, I do not lie,” he wrote in a document titled “Truth.” “It’s something I strongly believe in.”