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FTX founder: 'I hope I haven't killed crypto'

crypto  Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and chief executive of FTX, in Nassau, Bahamas, on April 26, 2022. (Erika P. Rodriguez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and chief executive of FTX: 'I hope I haven't killed crypto.' Photo: Erika P Rodriguez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty

Fallen cryptocurrency tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, says he "hopes he hasn't killed crypto" after overseeing one of the most dramatic crashes in the industry's history.

The 30-year-old, who faces several US federal investigations into the handling of FTX customer funds, was questioned in a new interview after inviting the BBC to his Bahama residence.

BBC cyber-security correspondent Joe Tidy asked the former FTX boss whether his actions have caused many people to lose faith in the cryptocurrency industry.

Bankman-Fried said: "I hope not, I don't think so. I think crypto is more resilient than that, and I think that if I have killed crypto then it is not what we all thought it was, because it is meant to be resilient."

The disgraced crypto boss also said that he would do anything to make money and repay the customers of his exchange that lost all of their funds.

He said: "I would give anything to be able to do that. And I'm going to try if I can."

Watch: Get your money off exchanges' warns Bitboy Crypto after FTX scandal | The Crypto Mile

Speaking from a luxury complex in the Bahamas, the former billionaire denies fraud but says he was "not nearly as competent as I thought I was". He then admitted to worrying about possible arrest while "ruminating at night".

Bankman-Fried told the BBC: "I'm going to be thinking about how we can help the world and if users haven't gotten much back, I'm going to be thinking about what I can do for them.

Check: Crypto live prices

"And I think at the very least I have a duty to FTX users to do right by them as best as I can."

In early November, Coindesk journalist Ian Allison blew the lid on the irregularities in FTX and its trading arm Alameda Research's balance sheet.

The balance sheet revealed that the $14.6bn (£12bn) of assets held by Alameda Research was heavily stacked with a large proportion of FTX's own FTT token (FTT-USD).

With outstanding liabilities of an estimated $5.1bn at Alameda Research, holders of FTT experienced rising panic that margin calls on those loans might decimate the value of FTT.

A bank run ensued, inflamed by warning tweets from Binance CEO Changpeng 'CZ' Zhao.

On November 11 FTX filed for bankruptcy.

At FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings the newly appointed administrator CEO, John J Ray III, revealed his dismay at how the exchange had been operated.

He said: "Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here.

Read more: Bitcoin price dips below $17,000 as investors eye Fed rate meeting

"From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad to concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated, and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented.”

On Monday, bitcoin (BTC-USD) fell to $16,933, a drop of 1.4% in 24 hours. Ethereum (ETH-USD) slid 2.8% in the past week to $1,246.

Other altcoins fared even worse with Cardano (ADA-USD) dropping 6% in the past week to $0.30, and dogecoin (DOGE-USD) falling 16% in the past week to $0.087.

Watch: Crypto and climate change: Can blockchain tech stop global warming? | The Crypto Mile