FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried appeared on Wednesday via video feed at the New York Times' DealBook Summit and faced questions about the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange in the form of an interview by Times' financial columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin.
FTX announced that it would move forward with bankruptcy filings earlier this month. The firm had been worth $32 billion and reports have indicated that at least $1 billion in client funds have disappeared, affecting roughly 1 million investors. Also reportedly missing are millions of dollars' worth of company assets. Bankman-Fried himself is facing allegations that he secretly transferred $10 billion from FTX to Alameda Research, a bankrupt firm he also controls.
The cryptocurrency mogul appeared at the New York Times' DealBook summit, which included other high-profile speakers such as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"Look, I've had a bad month," he told the audience, before admitting that it will take many customers years to recover their assets. "We messed up big." He further conceded that the company "completely failed" to manage risk effectively and that "there was no person in charge" of doing so at FTX. He claimed that he "didn't ever try to commit fraud."
Touching on the transfer of $515 million from FTX after bankruptcy filing, Bankman-Fried cited "improper access of assets" among a series of possible theories to explain the funds' disappearance.
The House Financial Services Committee this month announced that it would investigate the sudden collapse of the industry giant.
"The fall of FTX has posed tremendous harm to over one million users, many of whom were everyday people who invested their hard-earned savings into the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, only to watch it all disappear within a matter of seconds," said committee chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. "As chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, I have led the effort in examining and investigating the digital assets marketplace, and know that we need legislative action to ensure that digital assets entities cannot operate in the shadows outside of robust federal oversight and clear rules of the road."