Elon Musk, the newest owner of Twitter, has apparently taken more pleasure than anybody else in the public shaming of Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced ex-CEO of the FTX crypto exchange, in the days following the business’s bankruptcy. Musk has taken to his newly acquired social media platform to launch a barrage of attacks, including accusations that The New York Times downplays SBF’s suspected criminality and weird FTX memes praising himself for seeing through SBF’s “bullshit” from the start.
Musk mentioned this about FTX in a Twitter Spaces conversation on November 12, just one day after the company entered bankruptcy. “Everyone was talking about him like he’s walking on water and had a zillion dollars,” Musk remarked. “And that was not my impression… that dude is just — there’s something wrong, and he does not have capital, and he will not come through. That was my prediction.”
Assuming it was Musk’s prediction, he was spot on. Bankman-Fried lost nearly all of his fortune in a single day, turning him from crypto’s golden kid to a pariah overnight. A review of previously undisclosed texts by Semafor reveals that, in between his self-congratulatory rants on Twitter Spaces and his notes on SBF’s “ineffective altruism,” Musk conveniently left out one very big piece of information: that Bankman-Fried was an investor in Musk’s Twitter deal, and that Musk personally invited the FTX founder to buy in — his contribution totaled $100 million.
This means that Musk’s Twitter partner, SBF, is actually the target of Musk’s frequent attacks. According to Semafor, the link between the two billionaires dates back to at least March, when William MacAskill, an advisor to SBF, texted Musk to insist on the possibility of a “combined endeavor” between them.
More and more over time, as we hew closer to the truth, Twitter will earn the trust of the people
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 23, 2022
Both men were interested in taking over Twitter, and MacAskill assured Musk that the FTX CEO would put up $3 billion to do it. After some time, Musk’s banker at Morgan Stanley, Michael Grimes, texted Musk the news that SBF was willing to pay more than $10 billion. However, this crucial backstory information was already known. During his legal fight to back out of his attempt to buy Twitter, Musk’s embarrassing text conversations like the ones above were made public.
Axios claimed at the time that after speaking with Musk over the phone, SBF had decided not to invest in the platform, while Musk presented the conversation on Twitter Spaces on November 12 from a different angle.
“To be honest, I’d never heard of him. But then I got a ton of people telling me [that] he’s got, you know, huge amounts of money that he wants to invest in the Twitter deal. And I talked to him for about half an hour,” the “Chief Twit” told his users. “And I know my bulls**t meter was redlining. It was like, this dude is bulls**t — that was my impression.”
But what Semafor claimed Musk did on May 5, barely two weeks before the doomed Twitter pact was inked, was never brought up in court. Just before midnight, the CEO of Tesla apparently reached out to SBF and asked for $100 million to be invested in a privately held Twitter. Apparently, FTX’s Twitter shares were counted as illiquid in a balance sheet prepared and circulated to investors after the Twitter v. Musk case had concluded with a Musk acquisition.
This is a significant amount of company control to offer to someone who allegedly causes your “bullsh**t meter” to “redline.” It’s worth noting that FTX competitor Binance, which added $500 million to Musk’s acquisition, is largely credited with exposing FTX’s financial problems, which led to its demise.
The company’s employees and founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao may or may not have been aware of SBF’s role in the Twitter partnership. If anyone did, it was Musk himself. He has a lot to explain, what with the story he’s been peddling and all, and vulgar memes of mating rhinos aren’t going to cut it.
Amidst the public humiliation of Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced ex-CEO of the FTX crypto exchange, in the days following the exchange’s bankruptcy, the newest owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, appears to have taken the most pleasure.
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