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Ex-Kraken Chief Calls Out Sam Bankman-Fried for “Sociopathic” Behavior

Former Kraken CEO Jesse Powell is indignant over FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF)’s behavior preceding the fallout of the latter’s company.

In a Twitter thread on Thursday, Powell blasted the young billionaire for recklessly tarnishing the crypto industry’s reputation. 

Powell Calls Out SBF

The Kraken co-founder, known as a long-time crypto veteran and believer, called this week’s events a “massive setback” for the industry.  

Noting that the crypto industry is the frequent target of con artists, he said the community needs to raise its standards for who it elects as unofficial leaders. 

Though not naming names, Powell’s implicitly aimed his comments at SBF – whose exchange is now struggling to satisfy user withdrawals. A Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday suggested that FTX faces an $8 billion shortfall against its customers’ deposits. 

Binance initially offered to acquire FTX to help navigate the situation, but later backed out due to “reports regarding mishandled customer funds” at the exchange. Coinbase’s CEO also suggested on Tuesday that FTX had been “lending user assets” without permission, causing their fallout.

Jesse Powell had no sympathy for FTX and its CEO’s actions in this regard.

“This isn’t about aiming high and missing,” he said. “This is about recklessness, greed, self-interest, hubris, sociopathic behavior that causes a person to risk all the hard-won progress this industry has earned over a decade, for their own personal gain.”

Kraken CEO Jesse Powell Issues Tough Critique of 'Reckless' DeFi Launches - CoinDesk
Jesse Powell. Source: CoinDesk

Red Flags

Powell added that there were various red flags that SBF would have a bad impact on the crypto industry. These included his eagerness to donate to and please politicians, and his proclivity to seek out media “puff pieces.” Leading up to the midterm elections this year, SBF was the US Democratic party’s second-largest donor. 

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As such, the former Kraken chief said such actors need to be called out and shamed from the industry in advance. “If we don’t they’ll take us down with them when they inevitably destroy themselves,” he said.

Ultimately, we all have a responsibility to humanity to protect crypto… by attacking the cancers among us and leading by example, he concluded.

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