Former Engineer at Alameda Research Says His Entire Life Savings Were Stolen by Disgraced FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried

An engineer at Alameda Research recently claimed via social media that he had his “entire life savings” stolen from him by his former boss: Sam Bankman-Fried.

Now, after months of recuperation from the “craziness” of the FTX collapse, he’s ready to tell his story.

He still recalls his first time meeting Sam – it was his first day of work at the office. He had just left his job at Google, and was excited to be “working at this small, mysterious crypto trading firm.” At the time, there had only been “minor” press coverage of Sam.

Aditya Baradwaj noted via X that Alameda/FTX were “far from well-known even within tech circles.” In fact, he claims that he only knew about the company because “a bunch of early employees had also been students at Berkeley, and the news had spread to him through the grapevine.”

The office itself was “nondescript,” he recalls while noting that it was “situated on the 4th floor of an ordinary-looking office building in downtown Berkeley, it was a place that he had walked by many times during college.”

He also mentioned that the 4th floor tenant’s name on the directory “was conspicuously empty, revealing only that they shared the building with names such as ‘Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary‘.” According to the ex-worker at FTX, it was “hardly the neighbors one would expect for a multi-billion-dollar crypto trading firm.”

Aditya Baradwaj recalls that when he entered the office, SBF was “sitting at his desk in the middle of the trading floor, taking a call while playing League, in characteristic fashion.  And yes, that was Alameda’s trading floor.”

He also noted that despite the fact that on paper, Sam had already “transitioned to running FTX full-time, in practice both companies were highly intertwined.” Joint offices, social events, and housing arrangements between both companies “was the norm.”

He pointed out that he was “not sure who he was talking to, but he caught fragments of their conversation from Sam’s end.”

He noted:

“Decentralization is the future. The single most valuable thing you can do for yourself is to drop whatever you’re doing and get into crypto.”

Aditya Baradwaj added that this was “the first of many contradictions that I would see with Sam.” On one hand, he would “extoll the virtues of decentralized, permissionless finance to anyone who would listen.” But a custodial, KYC’d derivatives exchange “isn’t exactly a paragon of decentralization.”

Aditya Baradwaj added that later that night they ordered Sliver Pizza and “chatted over a game of bughouse – another favorite of Sam’s – and he revealed his plan to move the entire company to a tiny island in the Caribbean.”

The ex-worker said he “knew nothing about the Bahamas at the time. But as Sam spoke, it became clear that he had done his research.”

Sam reportedly said:

“Did you know that FTX’s revenue is greater than 10% of the Bahamas’ GDP?”

Aditya Baradwaj also mentioned that Sam’s vision for FTX, as “he went on to explain, extended far beyond just a crypto exchange.” He talked about “building a vaccine factory in the Bahamas to fix the invisible graveyard caused by slow FDA approvals.”

Aditya also noted via social media that Sam “discussed the strategizing that had gone into the political donations made by the FTX execs.” He reportedly “talked about hypothetical future technologies like iterated embryo selection, and the importance of not letting China get the lead in fundamental biotech research.” And of course, he “talked about malarial bednets and veganism too.”

According to Aditya, hearing Sam unveil his vision “for the future, it became clear that every action he had taken – Alameda, FTX, the Bahamas, policy proposals – was all part of a grand plan.”

The ex-worker added that Sam didn’t “just want to build a company.” He wanted to “build a machine – a growing sphere of influence that could break past the walls of that little office in Berkeley and wash over the world as a force for good.” Not just a company, but “a monument to effective altruism.”

As a “starry-eyed” new hire, it was hard “not to get drawn in by the boldness of Sam’s vision,” the ex- FTX worker said. He further claims that many of them had “joined the company precisely because we wanted to do good in the world.”

Aditya Baradwaj pointed out that there was “a billionaire, not yet 30 years old, who was using his fortune to bankroll a radical new vision for the future.” Not to mention, “with his self-effacing and awkward demeanor, [he] supposes many of us saw a little bit of ourselves in him as well.” And over the next year and a half, the ex- FTX worker’s life was “transformed in ways I could never have imagined.”

Adi added:

“I experienced opulence the likes of which I’d only seen before in movies. Got flown around the world on a regular basis between Berkeley, Hong Kong, and the Bahamas. Brushed elbows with celebrities, sports icons, and political figures. Yet at the same time, I saw irresponsibility. Careless risk management for a company handling billions of dollars in capital. Technical debt that would make any software engineer shed a tear. Millions lost in wasteful spending, and the hubris that it wouldn’t matter.”

Adi continued:

“Of course, Sam didn’t end up building a vaccine factory or eradicating malaria. His customers, investors, and employees – the ones who trusted him most – are financially devastated. And the ruins of the half-built FTX headquarters lay strewn across the beaches of Nassau. Sam himself is behind bars at MDC, having violated the terms of his house arrest. Even after all this, it seems he is incapable of following the rules. Over the past months, I’ve seen a ton of speculation online about FTX and Alameda. Unfortunately, not all of it has been based in reality. What were Sam, Caroline, and the others like in person? Was it all just a scam? How was life in the Bahamas? People deserve to know.”

He concluded:

“Unfortunately, the story of my time at FTX/Alameda is too complex to put in a single thread.”

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