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Sam Bankman-Fried: Crypto Kingpin to MackerelCoin Baron — SBF Embraces New Currency Behind Bars

Last Updated November 24, 2023 1:12 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated November 24, 2023 1:12 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Sam Bankman-Fried is now adjusting to life behind bars, where he’s learning the ropes of prison economics.
  • SBF is maintaining a positive outlook and is even sharing his crypto expertise with fellow inmates and guards.
  • Bankman-Fried’s transition to a federal prison is expected to bring about improved living conditions.

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), who faced a swift conviction from the jury after only a brief deliberation, is currently awaiting his indictment in a cell at the MDC.

According to reports , the fallen crypto kingpin is now swapping his digital fortune for a stash of mackerel, trading his way through the slammer — like a fish out of water.

From Crypto Billionaire to Prison Economist

Once a high-flying billionaire, Sam is now sharing a dorm room with a former Honduran president  and a recently convicted Mexican top cop , and he’s quickly learning the ropes of prison economics. With cigarettes officially banned, mackerel has become the new currency of choice, and SBF has been using his pouches of “macks” to pay for haircuts and other goods and services.

After a judge revoked his bail for allegedly trying to intimidate witnesses, Sam has been cooling his heels at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, a far cry from his $30 million penthouse apartment in the Bahamas.

The jury took only a few hours to convict Sam on charges of stealing billions from FTX customers, and he now faces a long stint in a federal prison. 

While his days of splashing billions on startups and trading digital tokens are long gone, Sam is keeping himself occupied by doling out crypto advice to his fellow inmates and the guards. He’s even got access to a specialized laptop to review legal items, but, perhaps he is keeping an eye on the rising prices of crypto.

Behind Bars But With Better Prospects

Sam’s new life is a far cry from his plush $30 million penthouse in the Bahamas, but he’s making the best of it. He even gets to have visitors once a week, as long as they’re not lawyers.

“Sam’s doing the best he can under the circumstances,” Bankman-Fried’s spokesman, Mark Botnick, said .

During the trial, Bankman-Fried admitted to the lack of robust risk management at the crypto exchange but denied any involvement in fraudulent activities. His legal team intends to appeal the conviction, a process that could result in a lengthy prison term.

Following Bankman-Fried’s transfer to federal prison for the commencement of his sentence, he is expected to experience increased freedom of movement along with improved access to educational programs and recreational activities. This insight comes from prison consultant Bill Baroni, a lawyer convicted in the New Jersey Bridgegate scandal , where associates of former Gov. Chris Christie were implicated in orchestrating traffic jams as a form of political retribution.

“When he is sentenced, his life will get better. He’ll be out of the facility with the most violent people,” said Baroni, whose fraud conviction was subsequently thrown out by the Supreme Court.

While other white-collar criminals are enjoying their jail time in cushy facilities near their families, Sam has landed himself in a place where the most popular amenity is mackerel, the new prison currency.

The Brooklyn detention center, known for its “character-building” facilities, has been criticized for its poor conditions and severe understaffing. 

Prison Diet – From Peanut Butter and Bread to Mackerel

In the initial period, Bankman-Fried had to sustain himself on a diet of peanut butter, bread, and water as the jail did not cater to his vegan dietary requirements, as mentioned by one of his attorneys during a court appearance in late August. Additionally, he faced challenges in obtaining the correct dosage of his prescribed Adderall, according to the same attorney.

Subsequently, the issues regarding Bankman-Fried’s access to food and medication prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have been addressed. A reliable source mentioned that he now receives vegetarian meals at the jail.

Inmates at the detention center are typically confined to their unit, and don’t move freely around the facility. Instead of eating in a communal cafeteria, as at some prisons, meals are delivered to individual units, said Christine Dynan, a prison consultant who previously worked at the center and other federal facilities.

Numerous inmates at the Brooklyn jail opt to acquire food, clothing, and toiletries through the facility’s commissary. A commissary item list reveals that peanut butter is priced at $4.15, a pair of sneakers costs $79.95, and an MP3 player is listed at $88.40. Notably, a pouch of mackerel fillets now costs $1.30, marking a 30% increase from $1 in 2020.

According to Baroni, Bankman-Fried is likely to bring his mackerel packets with him when he transfers to a federal prison. Baroni shared that he paid four macks for his own haircut during his time in prison, humorously noting that the “mack currency system is far more stable than crypto.”

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