Jeffrey A. Tucker November 28, 2022
The collapse of FTX
is not just another crypto scam gone bust due to changed market prices.
In its brief life of three years, stretching from 2019 to 2022, it
became the 2nd biggest crypto exchange on the planet with billions in
venture funding and a million customers.
It also had enormous influence over the direction of American public
life, backing and subsidizing the worst policy decisions of public
health on record. They included lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and compliance passports that contradict every core principle of freedom.
You could say that all of this is coincidental. Sam Bankman-Fried
(SBF) was just a geek with too much success too fast, and his
philanthropy was entirely heartfelt. There is nothing strange going on
here! And it’s true that one can be too conspiratorial.
On the other hand, we should not be naïve.
At some point, it is entirely possible that FTX became a
money-laundering operation for pro-lockdown psyops. In fact, we cannot
rule out that this was part of the raison d’être of the
operation from the beginning. Perhaps it was intended to have a short
shelf life, transferring billions and manipulating public opinion during
the Great Reset, and then shutting down.
For these years, it’s been a mystery to me and to many millions of
others why there wasn’t more opposition from intellectuals, public
health officials, political figures, and nonprofit organizations, even
those ostensibly dedicated to civil liberties and freedom. We locked
down and there was this seeming silence. Those of us who wrote to object
were isolated and disconnected. We were the extreme minority.
The elites, on the other hand, pretended that all of this was
completely normal. Why are we objecting as churches and schools were
closed? Why were we spreading disinformation that scrapping the Bill of
Rights overnight is a bad idea? Why were we so obsessed with the idea of
freedom that we fail to realize that these are all just common-sense
It took those of us among the dissidents months and even years to
find each other. Our legacy communities failed to speak out and we were
forced to wander alone and look for new allies. Meanwhile, the
lockdowners and mandaters seemed to have it all together, with Big Media, Big Tech, and the whole of government on their side.
FTX might have played a central role in this, similar to the Gates
Foundation except with fake money made through the crypto racket, even
while its founder chose the disguise of working toward a more regulated
The company and the founder/CEO Sam Bankman-Fried gave tens of
millions to Democrat Party candidates and backed all associated causes
from climate change to pandemic planning. They funded media outlets like
ProPublica, Vox, Intercept, and Semafor, all of whom backed lockdowns
and mandates. Even now, the New York Times is hosting SBF for an
interview this week and charging $2,400 to attend.
Meanwhile, the corporate structure of the company had ballooned
beyond belief, with some 300 different divisions and side companies, and
it was the same in the philanthropic arm, a network of astonishing
complexity. It’s extremely difficult to follow it all, exactly as one
might expect from a money-laundering operation.
I’ve spent hours trying to trace it all out based on public records,
which are thin but also breadcrumbs from podcasts, blogs, tweets, and
listings of staff, scholars, and board members of various nonprofits
that seem to come and go and enjoy mysterious funding sources. One gains
a picture of a remarkable web of quid pro quo and dark scammery. It
would take some serious and deep forensic accounting to figure it all
out more clearly, which is something expensive and difficult.
One keeps seeing these strange overlaps of mutual connections between
SBF, his brother’s nonprofit Guarding Against Pandemics, Protect Our
Future, Center for Innovation in Global Health, Center for Health
Security, Emergent Ventures/Fast Grants, Future Fund, Institute for
Progress, and many other institutions that seem to share funding and
priorities. Their podcasts with each other promote and protect, and
their tweets tag each other and name specific accounts along the way as
It’s all a huge thicket.
Meanwhile, the people associated with all these causes and
institutions are all saying that they didn’t know and are as shocked as
you and I. Oh, sure.
Another key to understanding influence is to realize that it is not
just the money that is given but also that which is promised. On Feb.
28, 2022, FTX announced:
“a philanthropic fund making grants and investments to ambitious
projects in order to improve humanity’s long-term prospects. We plan to
distribute at least $100M this year, and potentially a lot more,
depending on how many outstanding opportunities we find. In principle,
we’d be able to deploy up to $1B this year.”
These kinds of numbers make people in academia, media, and the
nonprofit world lose their minds. They realize that they can be on the
list for funding provided that they don’t screw up and start protesting
the public health response, doubting the brilliance of Fauci, or
advocating for the unvaccinated. The point is to play your cards right
and get on the list.
In this way, the announcement of possible funding can be as effective
a means of control as the funding itself. In light of this, I cannot
shake the strong impression I have that FTX and its funding networks
account for the massive distortion of the public conversation
surrounding COVID controls. One of the major economic blogs touted FTX’s
funding scam even while pushing for more lockdowns and smearing critics
of lockdowns. It was hardly alone. Essentially, all these venues tended
toward a China-style of pandemic control rather than a traditional
public health response.
FTX and its networks are the very definition of dark money. Surely
many recipients knew this or at least suspected that there might be
something funny going on if millions of dollars suddenly arrives from a
source that traces to a magic bean factory in the Bahamas as run by a
30-year old geek whose parents are law professors at Stanford. There is
something implausible about the whole deal but when cash like that is
waved around, it is easy to let go of one’s incredulity.
How deep does the corruption go? I do not know the answer but I’m
willing to guess that the answer is: much deeper. Consider FTX’s
connections to Ukraine. Of all exchanges in the world, why did the money
managers of Ukraine pick FTX? We are told that Ukraine did not deposit
money with FTX but rather only used them to exchange their crypto for
dollars. But where exactly did Ukraine get all this crypto? Are we
really supposed to believe that this was just philanthropy at work as
millions of generous donors the world over were giving to the cause from
the goodness of their own hearts?
The timing of the unraveling here also shakes me. Founded in 2019
just soon enough to enter into the public realm on the topic of pandemic
controls and then it disappeared just following the midterm elections
in 2022 over which its funding arm had huge influence especially in
races that were in deep need.
One looks at all of this unfolding with a sense of amazement. We are
being told it was all on the up and up, no real funny business, just a
bright student having gotten carried away. Meanwhile, Bernie Madoff was
arrested within hours after the revelations of his Ponzi scheme and
Elizabeth Holmes is going to jail. It seems like FTX managed its payoffs
pretty well because even as I type, Sam is refashioning himself as a
Keep in mind, too, that FTX might only be the tip of the iceberg.
During the pandemic years, governments of the world found the excuse to
distribute billions and trillions from taxpayers to well-connected
elites, and doing it all through the public treasury. Much of it was
lost and stolen. Much of it ended up in the hands of people who were up
to no good. FTX is thus a window into a world of scammery that is beyond
what the worst cynic of 2019 would have thought possible.
A final note: the bandits absolutely do not want to be found out. The
cover-ups have already begun. There simply are not enough investigators
on this case. We need answers. Getting them is going to take years.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Jeffrey A. Tucker
is the founder and president of the Brownstone Institute
and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and
popular press, as well as 10 books in five languages, most recently
“Liberty or Lockdown.” He is also the editor of The Best of Mises. He
writes a daily column on economics for The Epoch Times and speaks widely
on the topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture. Website