Sam Bankman-Fried's Prison Transition: From Crypto Mogul to Mackerel Trader

Sam Bankman-Fried’s Prison Transition: From Crypto Mogul to Mackerel Trader

UTC by Benjamin Godfrey · 3 min read
Sam Bankman-Fried’s Prison Transition: From Crypto Mogul to Mackerel Trader
Photo: Unsplash

Bankman-Fried, who has not yet been sentenced, is awaiting a second trial on charges of campaign finance fraud and bribery of Chinese officials, scheduled for March 28, 2024.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the co-founder and former CEO of FTX Derivatives Exchange recently convicted on November 2 for defrauding customers is reportedly adapting to the economic realities of prison life with resilience and resourcefulness.

Sam Bankman-Fried Sees Drastic Lifestyle Shift

A recent report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that Bankman-Fried, accustomed to the lavish lifestyle of a crypto billionaire with a $30 million Bahamas apartment, now finds himself navigating the constraints of federal jail. His days of selling high-value digital assets are long gone, replaced with an unexpected venture into mackerel trading, a common and accepted practice among inmates.

Using mackerel packets, valued at approximately $1.30 each, as a de facto currency, he reportedly exchanged them for services, including securing a haircut prior to his trial. While mackerel might be the preferred currency, it is not immune to inflationary pressures.

According to reports, a pouch of mackerel filets through the Brooklyn jail’s commissary represents a 30% increase from $1 in 2020. This inflation mirrors the economic challenges faced by inmates and the harsh realities within the prison system.

The report also unveils intriguing details about Bankman-Fried’s fellow inmates, including Juan Orlando Hernández, a former Honduran president awaiting trial for alleged bribery involvement with drug traffickers, and Genaro García Luna, the former head of police in Mexico, recently convicted for aiding cartels in smuggling cocaine into the United States.

Surprisingly, despite their diverse backgrounds, the report suggests that Bankman-Fried and Hernández share a seemingly cordial relationship, engaging in “cordial conversations” according to Hernández’s lawyer.

Also, Bankman-Fried’s initial challenges in obtaining vegetarian meals and ADHD medication have reportedly been resolved. Despite the Brooklyn facility’s terrible circumstances, efforts have been made to satisfy his demands. The former FTX CEO is allowed non-attorney visitation once a week and has been given a special laptop for studying legal documents, however, computer use is restricted.

Bankman-Fried’s spokesperson, Mark Botnick, told the press that the former FTX executive is doing the “best he can under the circumstances.” Despite his detention, Bankman-Fried has not lost his entrepreneurial spirit. While his digital asset trading days are over, reports suggest that he has been offering crypto tips to prison guards.

What’s Next for Ex-CEO of FTX Bankman-Fried

Bankman-Fried, who has not yet been sentenced, is awaiting a second trial on charges of campaign finance fraud and bribery of Chinese officials, scheduled for March 28, 2024. While he faces a maximum sentence of 115 years in prison, experts speculate he may receive a shorter sentence, perhaps 25 years or less.

The Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, notorious for its poor conditions, is not expected to be Bankman-Fried’s final stop. After sentencing, he is likely to be transferred to a federal prison, where he may experience greater freedom of movement, improved educational and recreational resources, and a less violent prison population.

Recently, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Bankman-Fried’s latest release attempt, cementing his continued stay in jail as his legal team prepares to appeal his case.

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