Once a prominent Democratic donor, second only to George Soros, and a vocal advocate of 'effective altruism,' Bankman-Fried's reputation suffered a fatal blow when he was charged and convicted of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.
In a surprising turn of events, Bankman-Fried is now reportedly engaged in the prison economy, dealing in 'macks' - not a coin or a token, but a type of fish. It seems he has quickly grasped the economic system of New York's Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC).
According to Business Insider, "The disgraced founder of the crypto exchange FTX has been keeping busy by swapping food items in exchange for services as he awaits sentencing on seven felony counts that include wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The new polished haircut he has been seen with in New York courtrooms appears to be thanks to an inmate. In a Thursday report, a source told The Wall Street Journal that SBF paid for a haircut with packaged mackerel, a type of pelagic fish that is a choice of currency among inmates."
Given his background as a professional trader, it wouldn't be surprising if Bankman-Fried manages to 'corner the market' for 'macks'. "The fish, popularly referred to as 'macks' among inmates, had been the choice of currency in federal prisons since 2004 after cigarettes were banned, sources told the Journal in 2008. Global Source Marketing, a supplier of the fish, told the Journal in 2008 the trend had become so popular that it felt the increased demand," the report added.
Bankman-Fried is scheduled to be sentenced on March 28, 2024, and could face up to 115 years in prison for the fraud charges. He is also set to stand trial for separate charges related to political bribery.
Crypto Slate reported, "Bankman-Fried has been placed in a dormitory with Juan Orlando Hernández, a former Honduran president who is awaiting trial over acceptance of bribes from drug traffickers. Both appear to be on good terms: Hernández’s lawyer said that the two inmates have held ‘cordial conversations’."
In prison, Bankman-Fried receives a steady supply of vegetarian meals and ADHD medication. He is allowed to see non-attorney visitors once a week and has been granted access to a special laptop for the review of legal documents, albeit in a restricted setting.
"Bankman-Fried has also provided advice regarding cryptocurrency investment to guards, according one of the Wall Street Journal’s unnamed sources," the report added.
Upon sentencing, Bankman-Fried will be transferred from the notoriously tough MDC to a federal prison to serve his full sentence.