DiscoverCrypto Kingpins
Crypto Kingpins

Crypto Kingpins

Author: USG Audio

Subscribed: 15,097Played: 19,383


Once upon a time, there were two titans of the crypto industry: Sam Bankman-Fried, the child of Stanford professors and founder of FTX, and Changpeng Zhao, the nomadic founder of Binance. The pair were the faces of crypto, generating billion-dollar fortunes comparable to the likes of Elon Musk and Bill Gates. That is, until their rivalry threatened to burn the entire industry to the ground.

For years, the pair had waged a cold war as Sam fought to unseat Zhao, or CZ, and dominate the industry. Then, last year, CZ fired a warning shot: one that would send FTX into a downward spiral, and reveal what prosecutors describe as a staggering $8bn fraud at the heart of Sam’s empire. Now, as Sam potentially faces decades in prison, journalist Tom Wright has been investigating the hidden origins of his feud with CZ – starting with a key witness: CZ himself.

8 Episodes
“He is somebody who likes double or nothing coin flips – and this is basically his last coin flip.”Since kicking off on October 3, the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried has generated headlines around the world. It’s produced hours of witness testimony and endless reams of evidence – but what do you really need to know? In this bonus episode, managing producer Megan Dean talks to reporter Tracy Wang about the biggest bombshells to hit the courtroom during the prosecution, including the “jaw-dropping” testimony of former Alameda Research CEO, Caroline Ellison. Plus, with Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers likely to launch his defense in the coming days, we hear from federal criminal defense attorney Ken White on their potential strategy – and what could happen if Sam takes the witness stand.See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Episode 6: Kill Shot

Episode 6: Kill Shot


With FTX’s debts spiraling and Alameda’s books a blackhole, Sam needs to bring in more cash fast to keep the two companies afloat. But CZ has been biding his time — and he’s done tolerating Sam’s backstabbing. When CoinDesk publishes an explosive article exposing Alameda’s financials, CZ seizes the opportunity for revenge, sending shockwaves through the market and triggering panic. As investors scramble to retrieve their assets, Sam is hit with charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, and intent to defraud the U.S. government.See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Life’s a beach for Sam — he moves FTX to the Bahamas just as China starts cracking down on crypto and lands a jaw-dropping $200 million funding deal with Sequoia Capital. He attracts the backing of Wall Street financier and one-time Trump White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and throws a glitzy conference featuring former presidents and celebrities. But as FTX's popularity soars, financial irregularities begin to emerge, and the truth behind Sam’s empire starts to unravel.See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Sam spends hundreds of millions to buy name recognition and political influence for FTX in the U.S. — and suddenly his upstart crypto exchange is everywhere, from the Miami Heat’s arena to the halls of Congress. Football stars, models, and TV personalities endorse the FTX brand. It’s part of Sam’s plan to pitch himself as the squeaky-clean face of American crypto, in contrast to the Chinese-Canadian CZ, whom Sam paints as a foreign spy. But Sam’s got a secret. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Episode 3: The Wild East

Episode 3: The Wild East


Sam moves Alameda Research’s headquarters from Berkeley to Hong Kong to take advantage of the unregulated crypto market there. Caroline comes along for the ride, struggling to manage the stress of he r new job. Sam pitches investors on a new idea: a crypto exchange called FTX that will offer all kinds of risky crypto products. After all, why bet in the casino when you can own it?See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Starting his career at a secretive Wall Street firm, Sam learns to gamble and is praised for taking big risks. He embraces Effective Altruism, a movement aimed at doing “the most good,” and starts “earning to give” big donations to charity. He strikes out on his own to found a trading firm, Alameda Research, and exploit bitcoin price differences between Japan and the US — but is his origin story of immense arbitrage profits really all it’s cracked up to be? When staff quit in protest over his ethics, Sam doubles down and turns to an old friend from his Wall Street days to serve as his loyal lieutenant: Caroline Ellison.See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Two cryptocurrency titans, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, and Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, the founder of Binance, face off in an epic struggle for the soul of crypto – a battle that will result in eight felony charges and a $32 billion meltdown just a few years later. When they first meet in Singapore in 2019, Sam approaches CZ as a mentor — but soon turns on him to build wealth and political influence.See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Premieres September 19.See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
Comments (1)

Naught Wrong

An unknown error occurred playing this epjsode. Please try again later.

Sep 29th
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store