Evan Lutra says he lost more than $2 million when cryptocurrency exchange FTX imploded last month. And he said he was doubly traumatized to see disgraced founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried floundering in the media, saying he had no idea of the “massive management failures” and “accounting errors” that led to the crisis.
The fact that Bankman-Fried is holding court in a beautiful home in the Bahamas untouched by American law enforcement is like salt in the wound.
“The SBF is rubbing off on us,” Lutra, a 27-year-old investor/entrepreneur who lives in Mexico and India, told The Post. “[Bankman-Fried] he knows what he did is a crime. He is rubbing it in and going around the media trying to make it out to be a mistake. I have no doubt he knew what was going on. He should be in prison.”
“I’ve never tried to defraud anyone,” Bankman-Fried said at the Nov. 30 DealBook Summit.
Experienced investor Lutra, who once held more than $12 million in cryptocurrency with FTX, first deposited crypto with the company in 2020.
“I saw the ads [featuring celebrities such as Tom Brady, Larry David and Kevin O’Leary] and the people I follow [crypto] space promoted FTX,” he said. “I liked the product and the user experience was great. There was a zero interest withdrawal rate [with the purchase of FTX’s FTT tokens]. I sent money all over the world and used FTX like a bank.
But on November 2 CoinDesk Alameda Research – a trading firm affiliated with FTX – has revealed that the cryptocurrency token created by FTX has a financial foundation built in FTT of $5 billion. Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of rival exchange Binance, has announced that his company will sell a $529 million FTT position. This caused a liquidity crisis that caused the token to become inactive, its value to drop, and FTX to collapse. On November 11, FTX filed for bankruptcy protection.
Last week, Bankman-Fried claimed to have “miscalculated” the $8 billion. “I felt like my bank was robbed,” Lutra said. “It’s too bad to know we’re being played. I don’t mind losing money. But being cheated? It makes me angry with FTX and SBF.
Lutra is one of many fake clients who hate Bankman-Fried, an MIT graduate who donated heavily to both the Democratic and Republican parties and lived a fat life. He occupied a 30 million dollar penthouse, brought food from the best restaurants in the Bahamas and threw lavish parties. But you didn’t have to lose millions to regret it all.
After losing around $5,000 worth of crypto, Jeffrey Harvey, who lives in Los Angeles and worked in the hospitality industry while still in college, can’t wait for Bankman-Fried to reflect on what scares his customers.
“These statements are ignorant,” Harvey told The Post. “I can’t believe he has no idea about accounting. He is a very horrible person who has done horrible things to people in crypto and beyond.
“Shall we call him Sam Bankman, please? Fraud?”
But Harvey, 38, is just as impressed by American politicians who seem to be on the wrong side of history. “I just saw the tweet that was posted [California Congresswoman] Maxine Waters, she wrote [to Bankman-Fried]: ‘Thank you for being so open about what happened at #FTX.’
“He should help prevent this from happening again – he should not be thanked for answering questions from abroad.”
With commercials featuring celebrities and political connections seemingly infatuated with Bankman-Fried, last year Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) used precious seconds on the congressional floor to label the CEO as his “glorious Afro” – the exchange had an air of legitimacy.
“Now,” said Lutra, “we’ve learned that celebrities and models were there for the money. They never believed in SBF or FTX.
Most of the celebrities who promoted it shares are given in FTX. The likes of Larry David, Tom Brady, and Stephen Curry are currently facing lawsuits against the stock market.
In addition, unlike most competitors, the operation paid customers high interest rates of up to 7 percent.
Daniel Moravec has three bitcoins on FTX, although he once had around 20. Although he managed to withdraw half of his account before all hell broke loose, he believes he lost $30,000 in coins.
“I think Bankman-Fried is a criminal,” Moravec wrote, amid tweets about crypto and NFTs. AdioKingeth, said The Post. “What he’s done is completely destroy everything. And now he’s apologizing on Twitter. Nobody cares about the king. I didn’t want to run over you and rob you. Does anyone care? It’s a scam bro. He borrowed money and could not pay it back. This is a crime.”
According to 38-year-old Moravec, this disaster, as well as the insolvency of other cyrpto exchanges, has made him skeptical of the digital currency, which he has long embraced.
“I have very little crypto right now,” he said. “I probably have less than $100,000 worth of coins. Eighteen months ago I had $3.5 million worth of coins. I cashed in and lost somewhere in the $500,000 range as the stock market stalled. You play this game and you are prepared to win and lose. But we played a game we couldn’t win.
“The world was Sam Bankman-Fried’s oyster, and he crushed it.”
ben”BitboyArmstrong plans to do something about it. A long-time cryptocurrency investor and investor advocate, even though he doesn’t have any coins on FTX, he is showing action. Armstrong and a small number of burned-out FTX clients had already visited The Albany, an exclusive resort community in the Bahamas, where Bankman-Fried lived with nine roommates.
“We were going to kick in his door … but we decided to chase from the outside,” Armstrong, 39, told The Post.
“I’m organizing a protest this month that will blow people away. We protest before [Bankman-Fried’s] home We make it very uncomfortable. If the Bahamian government fails to arrest Bankman-Fried, he will be forced to flee. And I don’t know where it will go. He was the reason Problems in Dubai; they don’t want him there. I don’t see Hong Kong Bringing it in. We’ll see what happens.”