Sam Bankman-Fried Rebuffed Barry Silbert’s and Celsius’ Requests for Help, Ex-FTX CEO Testifies at His Trial

Before Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto empire blew up in November 2022, he acted – in an industry lacking a conventional backstop like the Federal Reserve – as the savior of a couple hobbled companies, BlockFi and Voyager.

He testified Friday at his criminal fraud and conspiracy trial that there were a couple other high-profile situations where he passed on helping. Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert asked FTX CEO Bankman-Fried for equity capital for DCG’s Genesis subsidiary sometime during the crypto market downturn last year, Bankman-Fried told jurors Friday.

Genesis was badly harmed by the collapse last year of crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, suffering a major loss. It ended up filing for bankruptcy after FTX’s own collapse and eventually stopped offering trading services. (DCG also owns CoinDesk.)

Bankman-Fried also testified that Celsius, a crypto exchange and lender, also asked for emergency funds, but he shot down the request. (It, too, went bankrupt, in July 2022, as did Voyager that month, before FTX’s collapse, and BlockFi afterward in November.)

Ex-Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky, right, near a federal courthouse in Manhattan on Oct. 3, 2023 (Victor Chen/CoinDesk)
Ex-Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky, right, near a federal courthouse in Manhattan on Oct. 3, 2023 (Victor Chen/CoinDesk)

Spokespeople for DCG and Celsius didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Edited by Nick Baker and Marc Hochstein.

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