Here’s what to expect as the Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) trial starts

on Sep 29, 2023
  • Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial will start on October 3rd.
  • It will take more than a month from the start to finish.
  • Estimates are that he will get between 10 and 20 years in prison.

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The biggest crypto story of the coming few weeks will be the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, commonly known as SBF. The trial, which will start on October 3rd, and is expected to last for four to five weeks, will shed more color about FTX, Alameda Research, and the involvement of his parents.

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Why SBF trial matters

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Sam Bankman-Fried had a dramatic fall from grace in 2022 when his cryptocurrency empire collapsed. Before its collapse, FTX was valued at over $24 billlion while FTX US had a private valuation of over $8 billion. Alameda Research had over $14.6 billion in assets by June last year. 

At his peak, SBF was well-known in the crypto and political circles, where he allocated billions of dollars. He was also a prolific marketer who acquired rights to the former American Airlines Arena, the home stadium for the Miami Heat.

FTX’s collapse led to major losses among customers and venture capitalists, including Dan Loeb and Kevin O’Leary. Customers lost over $8 billion while many charities lost the funds he had committed. Some politicians decided to return the funds.

Therefore, the trial of SBF will likely be the biggest event in the crypto industry on record. And its implications will be dire both for large players and SBF himself. In a statement this week, the judge overseeing the case warned that he faced a long prison sentence if he lost.

Odds are stacked against SBF. For one, some of the biggest officials in FTX and Alameda, including Caroline Ellison are cooperating with the authorities.Indeed, SBF will be in jail during the trial for attempting to get in touch with some of his former employees. SBF also implicated himself in a series of interviews with the media.

Authorities have charged SBF with numerous counts, including wire fraud on lenders, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud on customers, and conspiracy to money laundering and violate campaign finance laws. Each of these counts carrry long prison sentences.

What to expect in the trial

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According to the trial calendar, shown above, the SBF court sessions will start on October 3rd with jury selection and run through November 9th. The trial will be off during the weekends and on November 9th for Colombus Day. It will also not happen between October 23rd and 25th and November 3rd. There is a likelihood that the trial will last for longer than scheduled.

It is difficult to predict the outcome of this case since SBF lawyers have vowed to fight the allegations aggressively. However, it is easy to predict that he will actually be found guilty for some of his crimes. For one, his co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty and are collaborating with prosecutors.

Therefore, if he is found guilty on all these crimes, he faces about 115 years in jail. The reality, however, is that SBF will be jailed for far fewer years than that. For one, he will serve these sentences concurrently. In my estimation, SBF will serve between 10 years and 20 years in prison.


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