Mr. Bankman-Fried spent a lot of Crypto Bahamas shuttling forwards and backwards from his laptop computer to the conference stage. Even his mom, Barbara Fried, had bother getting time alone with him: As she tried to catch his eye one afternoon, a blockchain bro in a polo shirt cornered Mr. Bankman-Fried, asking him to movie a birthday message for a good friend. A couple of minutes later, he was backstage, shaking palms with Tony Blair and making awkward small discuss Brexit.
In contrast to some crypto conferences, the gathering within the Bahamas was an invitation-only affair, and it drew a high-rolling crowd. As a celebration favor, FTX’s visitors had been provided reductions at a non-public jet firm. On the bus trip to a beachside celebration, one attendee talked up his crypto yacht collective — “probably the most unique membership that is probably the most inclusive when you’re in.”
In locations like Puerto Rico, the arrival of crypto millionaires chasing tax breaks has despatched housing costs skyrocketing, outraging longtime residents. However the political management of the Bahamas has welcomed FTX with open arms. Prime Minister Philip Davis started the primary day of convention programming with an enthusiastic speech, declaring that crypto entrepreneurs are “higher wired for innovation and alter than most individuals on the planet.” Later, in an interview, Mr. Davis stated he’d been pleasantly stunned when Mr. Bankman-Fried wore a go well with to a gathering at his workplace. “We wish you right here,” Mr. Davis recalled telling him.
Mr. Bankman-Fried skipped a lot of the convention festivities, however he did not neglect his internet hosting duties. He had dinner with Mr. Blair and Mr. Clinton, and infrequently turned down a selfie. He additionally made loads of time for Mr. Scaramucci, the chairman of SALT, a company occasions group that helped placed on the convention.
SBF’s double act with the Mooch marked the tip of Crypto Bahamas. Again within the inexperienced room, FTX staffers exchanged hugs and excessive fives. Mr. Bankman-Fried was scrolling on his cellphone. He stretched and ran his palms by way of his hair. Then he checked his watch. The comedy bit had taken about 4 minutes. “I’ve bought a number of emails to make amends for,” he stated.
Exterior, the conference middle was emptying, as tons of of crypto fanatics headed for the airport. It was the calm earlier than the approaching meltdown. To go away the resort, visitors needed to stroll by way of the Baha Mar on line casino, the biggest within the Caribbean, a brightly lit corridor of flashing slot machines.