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Penthouse to prison: Sam Bankman-Fried's journey from crypto king to convicted conman

Watch Daily: Monday - Friday, 3 PM ET

Two years ago, Sam Bankman-Fried was a 30-year-old multibillionaire living in a $35 million Bahamas penthouse, partying with his pals while running one of the world's most valuable crypto companies.

Today, he's a 32-year-old inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, waiting for a judge to tell him how long he'll spend behind bars for masterminding "one of the biggest financial frauds in American history," in the words of U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.

Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of failed crypto exchange FTX, will head on Thursday to a federal court in downtown Manhattan, where U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan will deliver his sentencing. Prosecutors have recommended a prison sentence of 40 to 50 years.

It took jurors only about three hours of deliberations in November to find Bankman-Fried guilty of all seven criminal accounts against him. For a high-profile monthlong trial that involved nearly 20 witnesses and hundreds of exhibits, experts said at the time that they'd never seen such a speedy decision. Bankman-Fried plans to appeal his conviction and sentence.

It was a steep and swift fall from grace for Bankman-Fried, who was once hailed as a titan in the industry and had a peak net worth — on paper — of roughly $26 billion.

It started with the Kimchi Swap.

In 2017, as a quant trader at Jane Street, Bankman-Fried noticed something funny when he looked at bitcoin pricing on Instead of a uniform price across exchanges, Bankman-Fried would sometimes see a 60% difference in the value of the digital currency. His immediate instinct, he said, was to get in on the arbitrage trade — buying bitcoin on one exchange and selling it back on another,