In case you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you may have noticed a story or two about FTX and the now infamous life and happenings of Sam Bankman-Fried. Although most might be quick to thank Binance for its collapse, there is little doubt about who did the real reporting.
The breaking, the uncovering of financial documents, the investigation of how FTX and Alameda were connected, and the thousands of investors they were defrauding were led by a handful of Coindesk journalists.
Who Are These Brave Journalists?
For their groundbreaking work and for the subsequent direction of the crypto community owes their sincerest thanks to these two following journalists. And we should all be thankful for the often dangerous work they performed for the betterment of the entire crypto community.
Whether you agree or not, there is no doubt that the world is better without FTX and the often outlandish behavior of former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
This is the news organization’s first major journalism award. CoinDesk’s Ian Allison and Tracy Wang won the prize for financial reporting, according to a statement Monday. Previous winners in that category include The Wall Street Journal’s series on Theranos and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ stories on the so-called Panama Papers.
Created in 1949 by Long Island University to honor murdered war correspondent George Polk, the Polk Awards are among the most prestigious prizes in journalism and emphasize “investigative work that is original, resourceful and thought-provoking.” The trio of honored CoinDesk stories exemplified those qualities.
CoinDesk Content Officer Sounds Off
“This is an important milestone, not only for CoinDesk but for crypto media generally,” said Michael Casey, CoinDesk’s chief content officer.
“Despite all that Ian and Tracy’s incredible reporting exposed – and the fallout that it triggered – the crypto industry will continue to have a significant impact on the world.
It’s vital that it be covered with the kind of probing, well-informed, professional journalism embodied by these two reporters and their attentive, dedicated editors.”
The industry-shaking Nov. 2 story from Allison resulted from a source’s tip that Sam Bankman-Fried’s closely held trading firm, Alameda Research, was on shakier financial footing than was generally known. Allison got to work finding evidence and nailed it by obtaining the company’s balance sheet.
It showed that a significant portion of Alameda’s billions of dollars in assets was secretly made up of FTT, a sort of digital Monopoly money issued by Bankman-Fried’s better-known FTX crypto exchange.
The resulting story raised concerns about the stability of Alameda and FTX and called into question Bankman-Fried’s image as a white knight capable of backstopping struggling companies and as an “adult in the room” in a field notorious for fly-by-night outfits and scammers. The article debuted in a world where FTX was fast becoming a household name thanks to a marketing blitz featuring Larry David, Tom Brady, and Gisele Bündchen.
Within days the price of FTT plummeted, and Bankman-Fried agreed to a bailout from rival exchange Binance. Almost immediately, Binance got cold feet, as revealed by another Polk-winning scoop from Allison that instantly drove down prices in the entire crypto market. Hours later, Binance confirmed it was backing out of the deal.
More Info on Tracy Wang
Wang, a deputy managing editor, provided the third CoinDesk scoop honored by the Polk Awards: A story revealing that Bankman-Fried and nine co-workers lived together in a luxury Bahamas condominium and at times dated each other while running his companies, including the fact that Bankman-Fried and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison had once been a couple.
Since then, it’s all been story after story, and we have none other to thank than the brave work of journalists.