How realistic is a Sam Bankman-Fried comeback?
Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is eyeing a comeback. This is despite him being investigated by the Bahamian authorities and his firm, FTX, filing for bankruptcy.
At the moment, it looks highly unlikely that any sort of meaningful resurrection will come to pass, given that SBF has admitted to committing securities fraud by gambling with clients’ funds without their knowledge.
SBF maintains that the margin call was on FTX International and not on FTX US, but this may not make a difference in terms of the legal repercussions due to the fact that US customers were still affected.
In a parallel universe, SBF may come out of this unscathed and, as he says, do a “restart.” Indeed, Kevin O’Leary, the famous Shark Tank star who became a crypto-evangelist has claimed that, despite what SBF did, he would still invest in him again. But what would he do?
The Malta Gaming option
In April this year, SBF opened two companies in Malta, FTX Malta Holdings Ltd and FTX Malta Gaming Services Ltd. Malta is a popular jurisdiction for online gaming companies so it’s no surprise that SBF might consider opening a gaming company there, especially given the tax benefits.
In March, right before opening these companies in Malta, FTX bought Good Luck Games and announced a gaming division. FTX had also previously bought the naming rights to popular esports juggernaut TSM. Clearly, FTX was trying to expand into gaming.
Read more: Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto lobbying legacy haunts Washington
The innocuous regulator in FTX’s gaming pivot
Interestingly, while ensconced in his island enterprise, SBF also successfully roped in a regional Caribbean regulator. The Chairman of the autonomous entity the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission (ECSRC), Arthur G.B. Thomas was one of the three directors of FTX Malta, along with SBF and former HSBC exec Jonathan Innes Cheesman. Thomas is from Antigua and Barbuda and also serves as its ambassador to the Czech Republic.
The ECSRC is tasked with licensing persons engaged in securities business, monitoring and supervising the conduct of licensees, promoting investor protection, and maintaining effective compliance and enforcement programs. The Bahamas, however, is not a member of the ECSRC.
Read more: FTX founders Bankman-Fried and Wang reportedly detained
Is SBF going to make it?
The Bahamas has an extradition treaty with the US and it’s highly unlikely that SBF will be allowed to travel out of the country while under investigation. Despite the conspiracy theories flying around, SBF’s donations to the Democrats will have little or no influence at all on whether independent US federal authorities choose to prosecute him on serious violations of US laws.
The dream of merging crypto with the gaming industry may have to wait and as things stand, Protos’ assessment of SBF is NGMI.
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