Sam Bankman-Fried Was Convicted On All Counts. Now What?
Tales from inside the courtroom at SBF's trial — and what they mean for crypto
By: Zack Guzman
November 7, 2023
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For those who spent day-after-day watching the Sam Bankman-Fried trial, it’s just nice that it’s all over.
And yet, there are still so many questions left to be answered even after a jury convicted the FTX founder of all seven charges.
Will Judge Kaplan sentence SBF to decades in prison? Will his fellow co-conspirators also wind up serving time? And what does it all mean for FTX customers – who continue to see millions of dollars in fees rack up to the bankruptcy lawyers on the case.
This week on Coinage, I caught up with Overpriced JPEGs host Carly Reilly and Decrypt’s Andre Beganski, to reflect on what we all watched unfold in the courthouse. We chatted about the trial’s most interesting parts, why it all felt like school for a lot of reporters there, and what we think SBF’s lasting impact on the crypto industry will be.
“I kind of miss it is the truth,” Reilly said. “[There were] so many twists and turns. In some ways it was a lot of fun to hear the evidence that was coming out.”
In the end, the evidence made for a unanimous and quickly agreed upon ruling. As Beganski noted, from the very beginning of the trial the Government made it a simple case of fraud and didn’t fall into the trap of introducing unwarranted complexity.
“They weren’t talking about the nuances of cryptocurrency or how the tokenomics behind something like FTT worked, they leaned into the fact that this guy spent billions of dollars of money that didn’t belong to him,” Beganski said.
With SBF’s sentencing set for March next year, people will have plenty of time to speculate on what Judge Kaplan’s final rulings will be. As Bernie Madoff’s former prosecutor told Coinage, SBF didn’t exactly do himself any favors by taking the stand only to refuse to answer the prosecution's questions.
"I don't think he's better off for having gone to trial and having testified," Litt said. "If the judge thinks you lied, that increases again under the sentencing guidelines. What your sentence – what the advisory sentence is going to be. And as a practical matter, it affects the judge."
SBF faces a max sentence of 110 years in prison.