The Crypto Sector’s Big Scandal, in Context

There’s a major scandal unwinding in crypto right now. And it brings to mind the lyrics of the 1972 Jimmy Cliff hit in which he sang: “The harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all.” The words are a good description of the current situation in cryptocurrencies.

Sam Bankman Fried, aka SBF, was the founder and CEO of FTX and Alameda research, high-profile players in the cryptocurrency world. Sam became a multi-billionaire with an agenda. He shunned business suits for T-shirts and shorts; he donated to political candidates and social and environmental causes. He enlisted a posse of celebrities, including Tom Brady, Giselle Bundchen, Larry David, Kevin O’Leary (aka Mr. Wonderful), Anthony Scaramucci (aka the Mooch), and others to promote FTX. The company’s brand was on sports and entertainment stadiums. In early 2022, SBF spent millions on one of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials featuring Larry David. Ironically, David’s comic “I don’t think so, and I’m never wrong about this stuff” was dead right regarding FTX.

Today, SBF is at his parents’ home after a federal court judge set bail at a record $250 million. SBF faces a laundry list of charges from the Department of Justice that could lead to decades behind bars. SBF rose to be one of the wealthiest people in the world before his downfall. The harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all.

Financial scandals are nothing new, but they often push markets to levels that offer compelling value. Time will tell if the latest cryptocurrency debacle gives way to another in a series of explosive rallies since 2010.

Bernie Madoff marked a low in stocks in 2008.

  • Warren Buffet once said, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”
  • The 2008 global financial crisis exposed Bernie Madoff’s notorious Ponzi scheme in late 2008.
  • In October 2008, the stock market reached a bottom.
  • Bernie Madoff died in jail, serving a 150-year sentence.
  • The Madoff scandal added to the bearish sentiment in the overall stock market.

Theranos generated bearish sentiment and caution in the biotech sector.

  • In 2015, Theranos, a biotech company, began to unravel when a whistleblower raised concerns about the company’s flagship testing device, the Edison.
  • The iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology ETF (