It's not quite as small as it used to be: I've heard stories about Coinbase users having withdrawal issues and DMing Brian Armstrong casually to sort it out for them.
But crypto is still small enough, and niche enough, that if you've been around for any significant amount of time, you'll find that it's way easier to get in touch with crypto "celebrities" than in other industries.
Sure, you can't DM Brian anymore if you're locked out of your Coinbase account, but you can have 100 followers, tweet a hot take about a crypto hack, and get Vitalik and Jesse Powell arguing in the comments.
While it's pretty cool that the line is blurred between the big inventors, creators and crypto enthusiasts, it can lead to situations where crypto celebs take this cool, niche way of communicating and apply it to situations in a way that feels incredibly tone deaf.
Even beyond Sam Bankman-Fried (who I am clearly referencing as the main example here), you have several former heads of now collapsed crypto companies continuing to tweet and give interviews in this cringeworthy, overly honest but yet still misleading way that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
I'm not saying that a wall of silence should be put up between the world and disgraced crypto builders, but it's probably time for that current category of people to put a little bit more thought into how they communicate.
Trolling on Crypto Twitter is one thing, trolling at a New York Times event and on Good Morning America is another. All signs are pointing to dropping this particular mic and walking away.
Sam Bankman-Fried faced a grilling at The New York Times DealBook Summit on Wednesday. The embattled FTX founder said he didn't want to think about the prospect of jail time after the exchange collapsed. He denied ever trying to commit fraud — and insisted that he hasn't hidden funds away. And after Forbes estimated that his net worth peaked at over $25 billion last year, the 30-year-old said his wealth is now "close to zero" — and he has $100,000 in his bank account and just one working credit card. All of this will be little comfort to thousands of people who remain locked out of their savings. Elsewhere, he claimed FTX's U.S. arm is fully solvent, meaning "withdrawals could be opened up today and everyone could be made whole."
SBF's interview — performed virtually from The Bahamas — lasted for about an hour overall. He admitted that he failed in his duty to stakeholders, customers and creditors — and that he should have been more aware about what was going down at Alameda Research. But the embattled entrepreneur pushed back on reports of drug-fueled nights at the Bahamian penthouse where he and a number of his colleagues lived, saying: "When we had parties, we played board games and 20% of people would have three-quarters of beer each or something like that. And the rest of us would not drink anything. I didn't see any illegal drug use around me — you know, at the office at these parties."
Kraken has become the latest to announce a large round of layoffs as the crypto industry's year-long bear market deepens. The San Francisco-based exchange said that it was cutting 1,100 staff members — rolling headcount back to where it was 12 months ago as it "takes steps to weather the crypto winter." Jesse Powell, who will soon step down as Kraken's CEO, said gloomy economic conditions have resulted in "significantly lower trading volumes and fewer client sign-ups." He also suggested the demise of FTX has "diminished near-term optimism about a crypto rebound." As recently as June, Powell had insisted that Kraken was on a hiring spree rather than a firing spree — with plans to add 500 staff as others cut back.