Inside FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s Senior Class Prank: Report

  • SBF attended a premier prep school where the senior class prank included earning $100 bills with their faces on them.
  • The former Jane Street trader was known to be one of the school’s best maths students.
  • A new report details the disgraced founder’s childhood, family ties and more.

Long before FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was accused of masterminding a massive crypto scam and in the crosshairs of regulators, he was a nerdy kid from a wealthy Northern California family raised in the upper echelons of academia.

Bankman-Fried attended a top prep school in Silicon Valley where the senior class prank included earning $100 bills with his face on them called “Bankmans,” Puck reported.

Raised by two former Stanford Law professors, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, the dethroned crypto boss attended Crystal Springs Uplands, Hillsborough prep school.

The middle school and high school have an annual tuition of $56,620, according to its website, with alumni including Patty Hearst, the American publishing heiress, along with chess grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky, according to the school’s student-run newspaper, The Gryphon Gazette.

Bankman-Fried and his younger brother Gabe “grew up immersed in a rotating circus of Stanford faculty members,” according to Puck’s report. Gabe was known as the more “socially skilled” of the two.

The mother of the former crypto-billionaire wrote in her recent book: “When Sam was about fourteen, he emerged from his bedroom one evening and said to me, seemingly out of the blue, ‘What kind of person dismisses an argument they disagree with by mark that ‘the repulsive conclusion’?” Things were clearly not as I, in my poor imagination, had supposed them to be in our household.”

Elsewhere, one of Joseph Bankman’s more notable law students was Paypal co-founder and billionaire Peter Thiel, who described Bankman’s tax law course as “his most valuable because he was able to put a lot of his Facebook stock into an IRA,” Bankman later recalled. Thiel later turned his Roth IRA, a retirement account typical of the middle class, into a giant $5 billion tax-free piggy bank, ProPublica reported.

Bankman-Fried was known for being one of the top math students at Crystal Springs Uplands, and the leader of the “Puzzle Hunt Club,” which the outlet described as “a particularly geeky group at an already geeky high school.”

More than a decade after graduating from high school, Bankman-Fried, an MIT graduate and former Jane Street trader, has been arrested following the collapse of FTX, which he has blamed on accounting errors rather than any fraud or abuse of funds.

US prosecutors accuse Bankman-Fried of orchestrating a year-long scheme to defraud investors. FTX secured $1.1 billion from about 90 US-based investors, according to a complaint filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims he raised $1.8 billion.

“We allege that Sam Bankman-Fried built a house of cards on a foundation of deception while telling investors it was one of the most secure buildings in crypto,” SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said in a statement Tuesday.

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