- Sam Bankman-Fried denied reports that employees of his now-bankrupt crypto empire were fueled by drugs and alcohol.
- His denial comes after tweets about "stimulants" and "amphetamines" from SBF and Caroline Ellison surfaced.
- When asked whether FTX was run by "kids who are on Adderall having a sleepover party," SBF said, "we messed up big."
Sam Bankman-Fried denied reports that employees of his now-defunct crypto empire were fueled by drugs and alcohol, saying any drug use was "totally on-label."
"I had my first sip of alcohol after my 21st birthday, and I had maybe half a glass of alcohol a year, roughly speaking. There were no wild parties here. When we had parties, we would play board games," he told reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times Dealbook conference on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, Bankman-Fried’s companies, FTX and Alameda Research, declared bankruptcy, setting off turmoil in the entire cryptocurrency industry after allegedly misusing customer funds. FTX still owes its creditors $8 billion.
As the crisis unfolded, reports surfaced that Bankman-Fried and his top deputies shared an apartment together and allegedly dated each other, as did old drug-related tweets from Bankman-Fried and Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison.
Bankman-Fried tweeted about "stimulants when you wake up, sleeping pills if you need them while you sleep," while Ellison once tweeted, "nothing like regular amphetamine use to make you appreciate how dumb a lot of normal, non-medicated human experience is."
Bankman-Fried pushed back on the notion that improper drug use was common at FTX, though, saying any medicine he took was prescribed by a doctor.
"I have been prescribed various things at various times to help with focus and concentration…. these have all been totally on-label use of medications," he said.
"I think they are things that, on the margins, helped me focus a little bit. I wish I had been a lot more focused over the last year."
FTX’s in-house coach and psychiatrist, Dr. George K Lerner, told the New York Times earlier this month that some employees at FTX took A.D.H.D prescription medication but that the "rate of A.D.H.D. in the company was in line with most tech companies."
When asked whether FTX was run by "a bunch of kids who are on Adderall having a sleepover party," by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Bankman-Fried responded, in part, "look, I screwed up. I was the CEO of FTX… That means that I was responsible ultimately for asking great things and I didn’t. We messed up big."