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The “pink ball” behind the FTX disaster

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The "pink ball" behind the FTX disaster

The “pink ball” behind the FTX disaster

Allison, born in 1994, applied for the 30 under 30 list a year ago. forbes When asked if he had any advice for himself, Ellison replied matter-of-factly and succinctly, “My advice would be to be less risk-averse and more confident.”

A year later, that statement was dismissed as a “mocking essay” when FTX, the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency exchange, collapsed. The disaster had a major impact on Alameda Research, a company run by Allison himself. In it, Alameda’s speculative investments were withdrawn from multi-billion dollar FTX customer deposits without users’ knowledge. Everything was only revealed after the exchange balance was leaked.

Illustration by Caroline Ellison and Sam Bankman-Freed in the background.  Photo: Forbes

Illustration by Caroline Ellison, with Sam Bankman-Fried in the background. Colour: forbes

“Nerd” since childhood

Very little is known about Allison. However, an unpublished interview with forbes and the eight people he is associated with display odd personalities: good at math, in love with Harry Potter, well-versed in philosophy and politics, and big risk-takers.

Caroline is the daughter of Glenn Ellison, chairman of MIT’s economics department, and mother, Sarah Fisher Ellison, an economics professor at the same school. Before high school, while other kids played with Legos, Ellison learned about Bayesian statistics. Instead of writing birthday cards for his father, he researched stuffed animals at Toys ‘R’ Us. After graduating from high school, he took first place in the Language Olympiad. He also maintained a hobby of reading Harry Potter from the age of three through adulthood.

Before becoming the center of the biggest crypto crisis, Allison came to Stanford in 2012 to study math. She has done research in difficult areas like sexuality, racial crises, discrimination… Ruth Starkman, a math professor who taught Allison at Stanford for 10 years at the time, described the former student as “bright, passionate, very good at math.”

Over the years, Ellison has been a staunch supporter of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Freed. When he ran Alameda Research, he was always cautious. “A lot of people are very smart, but they’re not necessarily good at trading in the chaotic world of cryptocurrencies,” Ellison said in a May podcast.

Trip to Alameda

In March 2018, while working at Wall Street trading firm Jane Street, Ellison received a call from his former partner Bankman-Freed. Bankman-Fried convinced Ellison to take a job at Alameda Research and envisaged a multi-billion dollar sales prospect with the ultimate goal of philanthropy.

“Leaving was a very difficult decision,” Ellison said. forbes In an October 2021 interview, Ellison quit his job to join Alameda Research. When Bankman-Fried left the fund to focus fully on FTX, Ellison took over as co-CEO.

As one of the few women to run a cryptocurrency company, Allison put no pressure on her even when Alameda Research was accused of using FTX funds for her own purposes.

“You live in a world full of adventures. Your whole goal is to maximize wealth. They’re just afraid to take care of him,” said one of Alameda Research’s early employees.

In 2019, Bankman-Fried launched FTX with seed funding from Binance. “FTX stands for Futures Exchange, which is a crazy side project by Alameda,” he explains. As FTX grew, so did Alameda. Last year, the exchange traded $5 billion a day, and Ellison was instrumental in coordinating the feedback.

Relationships with the CEO of FTX

Many sources say that Allison and Bankman-Fried had a romantic relationship. They share a group of 10 in a $40 million studio in the Bahamas. According to CoinDesk, Allison has dated, broken up and hooked up with Bankman-Fried multiple times The newspaper New York Times said they were no longer romantically involved. Despite this, FTX’s brand manager says they still pay each other bills from time to time, even for small things like cabbage, gas, laundry, etc.

Last week, as FTX collapsed over Alameda Research, Allison faced a wave of criticism from cryptocurrency advocates and investors. Faced with the anger of the crowd, he chose to remain silent. However, Allison’s personality makes her a protector of many. She is referred to as “Queen Caroline” on social media. Some believe he’s just a “pawn” set up by Bankman-Freed to blame for all the troubles on him.

According to insiders, Allison has hardly been seen since the incident. There are rumors that he is planning to visit Dubai but his whereabouts are currently unknown.

Bao Lam

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