Podcast: Michael Lewis on the rise and fall of Sam Bankman-Fried

The one-time crypto billionaire is on trial for fraud

Listen | 49:35

Having amassed a $26 billion fortune by the time he turned 28, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was the world’s richest person under 30.

The mathematically gifted entrepreneur was also the most prominent advocate of the ‘effective altruism’ movement, pledging to donate millions of dollars to charities he judged would make the greatest positive difference.

Then it all came crashing down. Bankman-Fried is currently on trial in New York for fraud, after the collapse of FTX exposed the misuse of customer funds.

But he is no ordinary greedy billionaire, says author Michael Lewis, who had already chosen Bankman-Fried to be the subject of his next book before FTX’s fortunes - and Lewis’s book’s story - changed.


Lewis, whose previous books include bestsellers Moneyball, The Big Short and Flash Boys, returns to the Inside Politics podcast to talk to Hugh Linehan about his new book Going Infinite, a depiction of the highly unusual personality, methods and motivations of Sam Bankman-Fried.

Lewis also addresses the criticisms he himself has faced for his relatively positive take on Bankman-Fried, a man charged with conspiracy, money laundering and fraud and who has come to symbolise everything that went wrong with cryptocurrencies.