Crisis Update – FTX, High Connections And Dark Pools

Moneycircus on Substack

Crypto is finally interesting with the collapse of FTX exposing a political network.
These were no seaside Millennials building sand-castles with other people’s money.
The justly-named Sam Bankman-Fried was the second biggest donor in the midterms.

The firm crashed last week when depositors tried to withdraw $6 billion.
As the money’s been used to fund derivative bets, it may have a knock-on effect.
This is no simple Ponzi or trading fraud as the press is pretending.

The setup is spooky from its connections, timings and complexity, to the firms’ logos.
It bears an uncanny resemblance to the upscale Theranos viral testing fraud.
A crypto pioneer warns of an intelligence sex trafficking ring and promptly drowns.

(2,300 words or an 11-minute rollercoaster.)

FTX, like the Covid event and the Great Reset, is a rare occasion when I reach for the cliché about a 40,000-foot view.

Individual parts of the story, while suggestive of corruption or wrongdoing, do not tell of the sheer extent of collusion, or the span of this network. For that you need a lofty perspective.

To begin in a spirit of caution, let’s start with a post on one of the Reddit crypto threads: “So much of this FTX meltdown has been connected to various braindead conspiracy theory bullshit at this point. I don’t like the WEF, but this is neither surprising nor consequential to me and I’m highly suspicious of anyone who is suddenly shouting, I knew it! This goes all the way to the top!”

The individual, one g_squidman, says there is no reason to assume Ukrainian officials were siphoning aid money into black money markets; that FTX being located in a tax haven is a “Panama Papers type of conspiracy”; that the crisis serves as a pretext to destroy crypto; that the media lionized FTX out of nowhere; or that its connection to top financial watchdogs might mean it was somehow a deep state project.

“There’s no global deepstate that appointed FTX with the responsibility to make you eat bugs.”

There you have the classic conflation of issues intended to ridicule anyone asking questions. Often there’s a mention of the Moon landings, though not this time.

It was just one greedy billionaire stealing other people’s money — nothing to see. That is what the state corporate media said about Jeffrey Epstein: that it was just one greedy billionaire feeding his sex addiction.

Behind the screen

However this Reditor’s tone of the “only adult in the room” betrays a poor appreciation for how the media or politics works. Neither grants easy access. It is rationed — that is the source of its power. You do not gain publicity or political connections overnight as did Sam Bankman-Fried. By the way, I will hereinafter call him Sam, for the SBF acronym is too reminiscent of Saudi Arabia’s MBS, who has genuine wealth and power.

Look at his family connections plastered across Twitter. Did Sam’s sudden prominence generate those connections or is it the other way around — those connections were behind his rise?

We have watched for three years as events and personages emerge, as from behind a screen, taking their place in ongoing events, like an actor opening the next scene. Much of this cast enriches a narrative or an operation that’s already underway, and they advance rather than hinder its objectives.

As somone once said, if events were random, wouldn’t the little guy win just once in a while?

It does go to show how tiny a world it is — money going to Ukraine’s government, which employs FTX, a new broker loudly promoted by the corporate media and the World Economic Forum, that same broker donating to the Democratic Party and that funds research to bash Ivermectin and promote pandemics; a broker launched by two recent graduates, whose parents work with key government regulators — but it’s not a world that you or I could enter with ease. [1]

People follow celebrities so closely that they mistake them for friends: those on the screen slap each other on the back and share coffee; we imagine ourselves joining in.

Likewise followers of the crypto space — in which Sam is a celebrity if only for his notoriety — can fall for the illusion. His trademark tousled hair and cargo shorts add to the familiarity. Yet that should be a warning (not proof, of course) that he was cast for the role.

Every time a tech entrepreneur dons a black tennis shirt it seems they’re trying to sell something — because they are! They are the sales jocks pushed to the front. The world stage has only just seen the back of tousled Boris Johnson. Tousled Trudeau is still smarming his charm.

The team

To cut to the chase, Mark Wetjen has been FTX head of policy and regulatory strategy since Nov 2021. He served as Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner under President Barack Obama from 2011. He was deputy to the Gary Gensler, until the latter became Securities and Exchange Commisioner.

If the penny hasn’t dropped: how could the government not have known that FTX was a fraud for at least a year?

Sam met Gensler at the SEC several times over regulatory issues — perhaps linked to FTX’s acquisition of U.S.-based crypto lender BlockFi, which already had the regulatory approval, to see if this could be extended as an umbrella to cover FTX.

No evidence has emerged that Gensler did anything wrong — actually he has a reputation for slow-walking a regulatory framework that would encourage the crypto industry.

The U.S. is inconsistent in its regulation of crypto exchanges, banning in particular those it considers anonymous. While authorities do not recognize crypto as legal tender, they regard it as a value transaction and thus subject to tax.

Then, in early 2022, Sam met the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

A FOIA request shows that around midday on Feb 1, 2022, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was scheduled to meet with: Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO and founder, Brett Harrison, president, Ryne Miller, general counsel, and Mark Wetjen, head of policy and regulatory strategy, FTX US and Zach Dexter, CEO, FTX US Derivatives. [2]

The World Economic Forum (WEF) helped promote FTX. Sam was a speaker at Davos last year, on a panel with Google financial chief Ruth Porat and Bill Winters, CEO of the London-based financial giant Standard Chartered. The WEF has since deleted a web page that listed FTX as a partner. [3]

Sam’s aunt Linda Fried is a Columbia University epidemiologist. The WEF funded her study into brain aging in 2012 and she sits on the WEF’s Council for Human Enhancement. Her husband is an expert in AIDS.

Brother Gabriel works for Sen Chuck Schumer and runs an organisation, Guarding Against Pandemics. FTX funded a trial that dismissed Ivermectin as a pandemic treatment. Sam’s foundation also gave $5 m to ProPublica to investigate “biosecurity and public health preparedness.”

Their mother, Barbara, runs Mind The Gap, that uses statistical models to calculate how Democratic donors can have the “greatest marginal impact.” It was launched two weeks after then Sen Joe Biden announced his presidential run. FTX head of ventures Amy Wu used to worked for the Clinton Foundation. Sam himself was the biggest donor to the Democratic Party in 2021-22 after George Soros.

Father, Joseph Bankman, is a Stanford University law professor who has advised Sen Elizabeth Warren on the drafting of legislation.

This past April Sam sat on a panel with President Bill Clinton and former British prime minister Tony Blair at an event in the Bahamas.

Trade organizations the Chamber of Progress and the Association of Digital Asset Markets on which FTX representatives sat, have deleted references.

The attempt is underway to rewrite history.

Nobody wants to admit

Gary Gensler’s relationship goes deeper. Gensler was, and still is, an economics professor at MIT where his boss was the father of Caroline Ellison, head of FTX sister company Alameda. U.S. Representative Tom Emmer is questioning his relationship with Sam’s parents. Gensler was finance chair for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Comment from the investment world: the New York Post quotes an investor close to FTX as saying, “This is like a Madoff situation… almost everyone in tech and Hollywood invested in this thing, Now no one wants to admit to it.”

But the most predictable response comes from The New York Times. It published 2,200 words without mentioning Sam’s funding the Democratic Party as its second biggest donor, or anything about SEC head Gensler or his connections with the parents of Sam and Caroline Ellison, nothing about the WEF or the political associations of other employees, nor, of course, about Ukraine.

The NYT spoke to Sam, but got little new information. It rehashed the story of the crypto trading company Alameda, founded in 2017, FTX in 2019 as a place to store crypto purchases, and a cryptocurrency token FTT to trade on the platform.

Alameda took loans to invest in other ventures but when the market slid and creditors recalled their loans, Alameda used customer deposits at FTX to cover its debts. CoinDesk revealed that Alameda had a large amount of FTT, sparking a collapse in the price of the token. [4]

Yet these two companies, FTX and Alameda, have more than 70 subsidiaries and may have invested in 160 other companies.

The deputy head of crypto for Ukraine, Alex Bornyakov, deputy minister of digital transformation, denied the country had converted any U.S. aid on FTX, though it had used the platform to convert crypto donations into fiat money. [5]

Is there any other way to say, this goes right to the top?

Pushy saviours

The investment firm Sequoia Capital, which has lost money on its FTX investment, had an article on its website: “Sam Bankman-Fried has a Saviour Complex — and Maybe You Should Too.”

Though it’s since removed the article, the choice of words is telling, for there’s a lot of saviour complex around, from Greta Thunberg, King Charles and Bono, to Bill Gates, Klaus Schwab, Al Gore and Yuval Harari.

Perhaps the latter is currently the most prominent. An article from March fact checks Yuval Harari and shows where his key themes fall apart.

It turns out he makes claims for genes that are simply not true: the idea that you can edit health or cognitive abilites completely ignores the environmental variables that play a parallel role.

He says under-the-skin surveillance will monitor our emotions but this is physiognomical nonsense; people vary hugely in their emotional responses.

His claim that scientists perceive the universe as a flow of data — meaning that AI machines will inevitably rule us — is likewise bunk. Scientists do not hold such a view.

Why, therefore is Harari pushing this? It aligns with the commercial interest of Silicon Valley and tech companies in a way that Shoshana Zuboff, who coined the phrase surveillance capitalism, does not. [6]

The clue is that Harari’s book is being forced on all generations as if it were public information messaging, aka, propaganda.

“In October of 2021, Harari released Volume 2 of the graphic adaptation of Sapiens. Coming up next are a Sapiens children’s book, Sapiens Live, an immersive experience, and a multi-season TV show inspired by Sapiens. Our Populist Prophet is relentless in his search for new followers—and with them new heights of fame and influence.”

Darshana Narayanan writes that he is a science populist. He is worse than that. Harari, whether he knows it or not, is a marketing man for the surveillance capitalists of Silicon Valley. There is nothing organic about Yuval Harari.

One last daquiri

Which brings us back to Sam.

As FTX sank with the sun last Friday its executives claimed that hackers had stolen the last remaining $600-900 million.

At least half of it was reportedly transferred to a company that Sam held privately. Yet it’s far from clear that any amount of money can get him off the hook, as the boats return to the shore laden with marlin.

The question is whether Sam used his parents’ political ties to launch his own financial vehicle, or whether he was manipulated — the fall guy in an operation he could not fathom, for it was deep.

Could it be that Sam and his squeeze, Caroline Ellison, were just the Harry Potter cast that was put in place to deceive the Millenial crypto speculators? The world is a polluted pool where only the poisoned thrive.

The private equity manager Alex Krainer has drawn comparisons between the FTX affair and that of Theranos and privileged-brat founder Elizabeth Holmes who is currently being sentenced for fraud. [7]

The difference seems to be that Theranos blood test was supposed to be ready for the pandemic. The board was stacked with deep state perennials: Kissinger, Shultz, Perry, Nunn. When Holmes’ fraud was exposed, the PCR test had to be coopted instead. Its inventor Kary Mullis died conveniently and the German “virologist” Christian Drosten declared PCR a test for Covid.

While we have told the bald facts of political connection we cannot finish our poolside daquiri without one additional, speculative shot.

Two weeks ago a 29 year-old crypto pioneer, the co-founder of stablecoin platform MakerDAO, was discovered drowned off the beach in Puerto Rico.

Nikolai Mushegian, raised in Kansas by immigrants from Russia, was found hours after his final Tweet on Oct 28, 2022:

“CIA and Mossad and pedo elite are running some kind of sex trafficking entrapment blackmail ring out of Puerto Rico and caribbean islands. They are going to frame me with a laptop planted by my ex gf who was a spy. They will torture me to death.” [8]

Feel free to explore the similarity of the FBI’s publication of pedo symbols with the FTX and Alameda logos.

And recall Sam’s meeting with two compromised former national leaders in the photograph at the top of this newsletter.

Tie it in with the U.S. southern border policy that is allowing gangs to traffick unaccompanied children, which the administration flies by plane, often at night, to cities across the U.S..

Finally, ask if the financing of such an operation could be allowed to happen through traceable financial accounts.

But maybe the $32 billion company really did emerge from the daydream of two star crossed lovers on a tropical beach, an intense experience — and over too soon.


[1] FTX funded study — Ivermectin trial was exposed as fruadulent

[2] FOIA, Feb 2022 — Federal Reserve meeting (PDF)

[3] Wayback Machine — WEF page celebrating ties to FTX

[4] NYT, Nov 14, 2022 — How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Crypto Empire Collapsed

[5] CoinDesk, Nov 14, 2022 — Ukrainian Official Refutes FTX-Ukraine Money Laundering Rumors

[6] Darshana Narayanan, Current Affairs, Mar 2022 — The Dangerous Populist Science of Yuval Noah Harari

[7] Alex Krainer , Nov 12, 2022 — The FTX, Theranos fraud template

[8] Daily Mail, Nov 10, 202 — ‘Paranoid’ crypto millionaire drowns in Puerto Rico after tweeting that CIA and Mossad were after him

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