Celebrities, Investors Scramble To Erase Evidence of SBF Ties

Politicians, regulators and athletes are attempting to distance themselves from FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried as bankruptcy proceedings continue


American football quarterback Tom Brady and Brazilian fashion model Gisele Bundchen | Source: Shutterstock


Sam Bankman-Fried, essentially, deceived everyone. 

Celebrity backers. Politicians. Regulators. 

Now, as industry participants parse the growing fallout of the collapse of his former cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, prominent figures are rushing to quietly erase evidence of once-chummy relationships with the alleged fraudster.

There’s precedent for this. CFTC Commissioner Caroline Pham, appointed in April 2022, deleted a tweet of a photograph with Bankman-Fried that she had posted shortly after she was sworn in. She did so just four days after tweeting it because, “this post became distracting from the key issues of their CFTC application,” her office told Blockworks in an email.

Tweet deleted on April 24, 2022, originally posted by @EpsilonTheory

Pham went on to call for more stringent global regulations after FTX filed for bankruptcy during a Bloomberg appearance last week. 

Others have begun damage control, more recently. The NFL’s Tom Brady — who in 2021 bought an equity stake in FTX with then-wife Gisele Bundchen — wiped all evidence of his ties to the company and Bankman-Fried. 

Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman also joined in on the deleting spree, removing a supportive response to Bankman-Fried’s apology. Ackman quickly was hit by pushback — especially from digital asset-focused investors — for appearing too forgiving in the wake of the collapse.  

Other celebrities have remained silent. Comedian Larry David, who famously starred in FTX’s alleged $30 million Super Bowl ad, has not made any public statements. And NBA star Steph Curry, a face of the brand who also holds an equity stake, has likewise gone dark. 

Politicians who benefited from Bankman-Fried’s ill-gotten gains are also doing damage control. 

Democrats Dick Durbin and Jesús “Chuy” García said they would donate the $2,900 they received from Bankman-Fried to undisclosed charities, according to a report from the Daily Beast. Republican David Schweikert pledged to give up his FTX-linked cash, which also amounted to $2,900.

As the now-defunct exchange and more than 130 affiliated companies continue with bankruptcy proceedings, the list of creditors lies somewhere between 100,000 and one million users and investors, according to regulators. Some hope remains, though.

“All may not be lost for FTX customers, and they may be able to recover 40% to 50% of their deposits,” Messari research analyst Kunal Goel wrote in a note Tuesday. “Sifting through FTX’s balance sheet, as shared by the Financial Times, shows that FTX may have up to $4 billion in realizable assets against $8 billion in customer deposits. Some broad assumptions must be made to calculate the realizable value of FTX’s assets.”

Representatives for those with FTX affiliations did not immediately return requests for comment.

This story was updated on Nov. 17 at 11:30 am ET to reflect that CFTC Commissioner Pham deleted her tweet prior to the FTX bankruptcy.

Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.

The Lightspeed newsletter is all things Solana, in your inbox, every day. Subscribe to daily Solana news from Jack Kubinec and Jeff Albus.


Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

MON - TUES, OCT. 7 - 8, 2023

Blockworks and Bankless in collaboration with buidlbox are excited to announce the second installment of the Permissionless Hackathon – taking place October 7-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve partnered with buidlbox to bring together the brightest minds in crypto for […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research Report Cover Vertex.jpg


The proliferation of new perp DEXs has led to fragmented liquidity across various DEXs and chains. Vertex, known for its vertically-integrated DEX that includes spot, perpetual, and integrated money markets, is now tackling cross-chain liquidity fragmentation through horizontal integration with the launch of new Edge instances. Vertex's integrated offerings and cross-margined account structure amplify the benefits of new instances: native cross-chain spot trading, optimized cross-chain basis trading, consistent interest rates, reduced bridging friction, and more.


Partnering with EtherFi and Angle, the fully on-chain perp DEX features bespoke collateral



Gavin Wood introduced the next evolutionary step for the Polkadot network: the Join-Accumulate Machine, or JAM


The side events were the places to be at Consensus 2024, according to attendees


Also, who’s come out swinging in the spot ether ETF fee war — and who could undercut them


I know it is not in their nature, but US regulators could learn a lot by researching the digital asset frameworks that overseas regulators have already gotten right


Also, the ETF hype train can count out at least one member