Crypto users react to Sam Bankman-Fried’s 25-year sentence

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More than 500 days after the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, users have an answer for the number of years former CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried will face in prison: 25.

In a March 28 hearing, Judge Lewis Kaplan sentenced the former FTX CEO to 300 months in prison for his conviction related to misusing customer funds. Prosecutors had suggested up to 50 years in prison for SBF, while his defense attorneys requested the judge be lenient and only impose up to 6.5 years. The judge added the former CEO had committed perjury and intimidated witnesses.

Immediately following the announcement in the New York courtroom, crypto users jumped onto social media to express their thoughts. Many suggested that 25 years wasn’t enough time given longer sentences handed down for seemingly less serious crimes.

“[The judge] gave him less than Chelsea Manning (35 years) for a waaaaay worse crime,” said Edward Snowden on X, referring to Manning’s 2013 conviction for violations of the Espionage Act.

Source: Mandrik

Though the sentencing guidelines allowed Judge Kaplan to put SBF in prison for more than 100 years, many pointed out before the hearing that this outcome was unlikely. Several legal experts speculated Bankman-Fried would serve between 10 and 30 years, and others suggested it may be an effective deterrent for figures in the crypto space.

“Judge Kaplan weighed all of the sentencing factors, including the magnitude of the crime, his conclusion that SBF lied on the witness stand and tampered with a witness, and handed down a serious sentence,” Mark Bini, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, told Cointelegraph. “While less than the prosecutors’ request for 40-50 years, it is a very significant sentence and sends a message that people convicted of crimes in the crypto space will face serious consequences.”

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York

Related: What to expect at Sam Bankman-Fried’s sentencing hearing

Swan Bitcoin Managing Director Terrence Yang largely disagreed, telling Cointelegraph “justice is not served” and 25 years was “too light” based on the number of suicides in the wake of the collapse of FTX, SBF’s perjury, and the misuse of user funds.

“The damage SBF did was permanent and severe,” said Yang. “He ruined a lot of families and lives with his felonious acts and put salt in the deep wounds with his total lack of remorse. I get that he has ADHD and ADHD families filed a statement with the court asking for leniency but SBF is the only person with ADHD in the world who stole billions of dollars in customer funds and destroyed or hurt millions of lives.”

Bankman-Fried was taken out of court on March 28 to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where he has been since Judge Kaplan revoked his bail in August 2023. Ryan Salame, the former co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, will likely be the next figure in the case to face sentencing on May 1. Gary Wang, Caroline Ellison and Nishad Singh — other former executives associated with FTX and Alameda Research — have already pleaded guilty and accepted deals.

Magazine: ‘Less flashy’ Mashinsky set for less jail time than SBF: Inner City Press, X Hall of Flame

Update (March 28 at 6:20 pm UTC): This article has been updated to include a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.