FTX collapse: Is there no shame anymore?

Sam Bankman-Fried’s mere ‘embarrassment’ at the collapse of FTX is a symptom of our inability to find shared moral values.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former head of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, says he is embarrassed. He ought to be ashamed. There is a significant difference, the writer says. PHOTO: AFP
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Sam Bankman-Fried has seemed very keen to get one thing across in the media blitz he embarked upon last week. It’s not so much about owning up to having done anything unethical or unlawful (or not “knowingly” anyway); it’s more that he wants us to know he finds himself in a particularly uncomfortable emotional state: embarrassment.

“A mistake that I feel pretty embarrassed to have made (is that) I substantially underestimated what the scale of a market crash could look like,” the former chief executive of collapsed crypto exchange FTX told journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin in a live-streamed interview from the Bahamas. “I had embarrassingly little knowledge about what was going on,” he told crypto podcast The Block. “I was incorrect on Alameda’s balances on FTX by a fairly large number and (an) embarrassingly large one,” he told YouTuber Tiffany Fong.

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