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Unraveling the Misconceptions: Examining Michael Lewis’ SBF Biography and its Impact on Crypto

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As the highly anticipated Sam Bankman-Fried biography, “Going Infinite,” by Michael Lewis, hits bookshelves, it brings with it the potential to confuse and mislead readers about the world of crypto. While the book offers a detailed account of one individual’s rise and fall, its portrayal of the web3 community lacks accuracy and critical understanding. In order to address any misconceptions this book may spread among the mainstream audience, it is important to provide factual analysis and shed light on the reality of the crypto industry.

For those of us with years of experience in this sector, driven by core principles such as transparent rules, asset ownership, and decentralized access to finance, Sam Bankman-Fried has been a source of concern due to his questionable practices in the crypto space.

Amanda Cassatt is the CEO of Serotonin.

SBF’s attempts to financially influence politicians in exchange for regulations favoring FTX have raised eyebrows. The proposed regulations would have jeopardized the market share of genuine decentralized finance protocols that prioritize transparency, on-chain operations, and the non-custodial nature of user funds. In contrast, FTX, a centralized exchange, has operated for centuries, offering customers indirect access to crypto assets without root ownership or the benefits of blockchain technology.

During a recent interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Michael Lewis recounted his first meeting with SBF, which occurred at the request of a friend considering investing in FTX. However, Lewis’s understanding of the crypto landscape is flawed, as he casually conflates FTX with the entire crypto industry and mixes up custodial centralized finance (CeFi) with decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions. This overlooks the very reason DeFi was created – to provide control and ownership of assets directly to individuals, solving the trust issues associated with CeFi.

Read also: Emily Parker – Michael Lewis Was Charmed by Sam Bankman-Fried – But So Was Everyone Else

Unfortunately, Lewis does not take responsibility for clarifying this crucial distinction, which is now recognized by lawmakers worldwide. The crypto industry is not monolithic; it is comprised of distinct DeFi and CeFi sectors. Instead, Lewis aims to create captivating characters, presenting SBF as a misunderstood oddball with neurodiversity, extreme youth, and a sleep disorder, without addressing the fundamental differences between DeFi and CeFi protocols.

Lewis’s admiration for SBF is evident throughout the book. He marvels at SBF’s disinterest in materialistic pleasures, which seems to baffle Lewis. However, financial success alone does not determine one’s moral character. The true measure lies in whether a person engages in fraudulent activities that harm others. Lewis’s focus on SBF’s lack of interest in worldly pleasures distracts from the real issue at hand.

Another male character in the book, described as “every guy in crypto,” is depicted as someone who prioritizes sports, cars, and women. Lewis’s sweeping generalizations about the motives of individuals in the crypto industry, insinuating paranoia and a lack of trust in institutions, are unfounded and dismissive. Many professionals in this field are motivated by a desire to challenge the status quo, not grounded solely in financial gain.

Furthermore, Lewis’s underlying message suggests that those in crypto suffer from a paranoid disorder that hinders trust in established institutions. Yet, his book fails to present any valid reasons for questioning these institutions. Lewis himself appears to be a proponent of the traditional institutional system. His depictions of crypto industry leaders hover dangerously close to the realm of “shadowy super-coders.”


The book serves as both an apology for SBF’s actions and a call for increased regulation in the crypto space. If readers accept Lewis’s portrayal of SBF as an accurate representation of the man himself, it seems plausible that SBF could remain unaware of an $8 billion hole in his company’s finances. Lewis suggests that FTX’s lack of management experience and disregard for oversight led to its downfall. However, it is essential to note that FTX’s collapse was a result of financial fraud and is not representative of typical decentralized crypto projects. In fact, this incident underscores the need for DeFi solutions and highlights the limitations of centralized finance (CeFi). Ironically, politicians who benefited from SBF’s earlier support celebrated FTX’s collapse and used it as an opportunity to call for stricter regulations, conveniently ignoring the distinctions between FTX and the broader crypto industry.

Lewis has a talent for creating captivating characters, and SBF is one such example. While it is important to support creators and storytellers, caution must be exercised when their narratives have the potential to distort public perception. To those considering crypto as an investment through platforms like BlackRock and VanEck, it is crucial not to be swayed by this book’s portrayal of FTX as representative of the entire crypto industry or SBF as a reflection of its leaders. Conduct your own research, and consider comparing Bitcoin’s performance over time with that of traditional investment options like the S&P 500.

If you seek a bedtime story that truly reflects the realities of the web3 movement, allow me to recommend “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” by C. S. Lewis – a substantially more enjoyable and realistic portrayal of this world.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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