Opinion: It’s a blessing that SBF has taken a break from Twitter

Listen to this article.

Could it be beneficial for the prosecution to let Sam Bankman-Fried stay online and talking? Yes, but it’s also a detriment to society.

As FTX collapsed around him, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) took to Twitter in an attempt to ease the disparate and panicked cries from traders, investors, and employees. Everything was fine, he assured the Twitterverse; the company was simply experiencing a liquidity crunch.

Soon after, SBF took to Twitter again, this time a shell of the confident, altruistic billionaire he’d been before, to announce that Binance, the largest crypto exchange in the world, would be buying FTX.

Then, after Binance chief Changpeng Zhao (CZ) passed on the opportunity to buy the smoking crater of illiquid assets and debts that was FTX, SBF took to Twitter to announce the bankruptcy of FTX and Alameda Research.

Then came the interview tour, direct messages turned articles, late-night phone calls with citizen journalists, and, of course, inevitably, a Substack.

Read more: How the battle between Binance and FTX went from bad to worse

SBF is in the midst of becoming America’s most-hated billionaire and alleged perpetrator of one of the largest frauds in 20 years. That said, he’s been lapping up the attention.

He manipulated anyone he could, all the time being an arrogant prick about it. It was all things SBF, all the time. Even when headlines read “SBF lies again” or “nothing he says makes sense,” it somehow felt like he was controlling the narrative.

Then, about a month ago, there was resounding (and very welcome) silence.

Frauds learn to shut up

An ongoing theme in the crypto industry is for people who commit fraud to reappear online and spin up new frauds projects. This can be despite ongoing liquidations, associations with exit scams, or even literal Interpol Red Notices.

During the bull market, this was more or less an effective way to operate. There was always a pool of supporters who believed a scammer starting a project could be memetic enough to go up in price.

But with the crypto downturn and a noticeable tightening of liquidity starting to bite, the vilification of those that brought bad fortune has begun — and it seems to be having an effect.

Do Kwon, the usually loud and obnoxious founder of the LUNA Ponzi scheme, has thumbed his nose at authorities online for years. However, so far in 2023, he’s taken two month-long breaks from Twitter.

Likewise, Alex Mashinsky, the founder of lending Ponzi Celsius Network, has taken his account private and stopped tweeting. Lastly, and most importantly, SBF hasn’t tweeted or written a blog since January 20.

Of course, it could be a coincidence that all of these individuals have stopped communicating publicly around the same time — Kwon has repeatedly had his location doxxed, Mashinsky will be going to civil court relatively soon, and it appears that SBF has internet restrictions of some kind and is maybe heeding the advice of his attorney — but it’s eerie and necessary, regardless.

Read more: Why Serbia makes sense for crypto fugitive Do Kwon

SBF’s still talking, but nobody’s listening

While it’s fair to say that coverage of SBF and FTX hasn’t ceased — after all, we’re still witnessing the unraveling of one of the largest frauds in history — it also hasn’t been minute-by-minute as it was in January. In fact, many of the in-person interviews that SBF has done since he was bailed out have gone largely unnoticed by most on social media.

These recent interviews paint a far different picture of SBF to that of the almost stoic shitposter he portrays himself as online. Instead, they hint at a deluded, lazy, know-it-all, living at home with parents who coddle their man-child like he just committed baby’s first fraud.

It isn’t what SBF wanted the public to see and none of us really care to see it — it’s pathetic.

Let him cook

Since his company’s bankruptcy, I’ve publicly suggested several times that SBF listen to his lawyers and parents and stop tweeting and lashing out when he’s met with pushback from the public at large. Let him dig his own grave, people would say, this is all evidence that can eventually be used against him in a court of law.

I get that, I really do. But let’s look at the facts.

At least two former executives from FTX and Alameda Research have given themselves up to the government and have likely become state-turned witnesses. Liquidators and consultants like Sullivan & Cromwell have taken over the books and are sharing all information gleaned with authorities. SBF has already done dozens of interviews and at least two blog posts on the situation, all of which can be used in court.

Seeing as how SBF doesn’t have access to FTX or Alameda books, hasn’t said anything particularly jaw-dropping, and has repeatedly lied to anyone and everyone he’s been able to, I genuinely don’t think he has anything left to add to the discourse. What’s more, it’s unlikely that many, if any, of his statements will be utilized during his trial.

It’s probably fair to say that journalists and commentators, myself included, hope that SBF draws out the drama, takes the stand, and fights the mountains of evidence stacked against him — if only to give the world another stupid reality show to watch. Yet, we have to balance this with just how unhealthy giving SBF the spotlight has been.

It’s good that he’s taken an internet break, but it’s probably even better for us that we’ve taken an SBF break.

For more informed news, follow us on Twitter and Google News or subscribe to our YouTube channel.