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Crypto Kingpins Podcast Trailer Details Sam Bankman-Fried and Changpeng “CZ” Zhao Rivalry

Hosted by journalist Tom Wright, the podcast delves into the rivalry that led, in part, to Bankman-Fried's arrest.

By Cydney Contreras

Before Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested for fraud, he was considered a leading star of the cryptocurrency industry. His company, FTX, was one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges and had been valued at $32 billion in January 2022.

But in November of that year, FTX collapsed, and the following month, Bankman-Fried was charged by federal prosecutors with multiple counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, commodities fraud and money laundering.

In the new podcast Crypto Kingpins, premiering on Sept. 19, journalist Tom Wright explores Bankman-Fried's stunning fall from grace. "It is a story of deception, fraud, and dueling titans, set against the backdrop of the multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency industry,” according to a press release from USG Audio, which is producing the six-part series.

The podcast will draw on the insights of Changpeng Zhao, the founder of crypto firm Binance and one of Bankman-Fried’s chief rivals. Zhao, better known as “CZ” in the crypto world, exposed an alleged $8 billion fraud scheme at the heart of FTX, the USG Audio release states.

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In an exclusive preview of Crypto Kingpins, Wright says the show will reveal how the rivalry turned into "a clash that exposed a $8 billion black hole and threatened to burn the entire industry to the ground."

Having spent more than five years as an investigative journalist and one year immersed in the world of cryptocurrency, White will pull back the curtain on the largely unregulated industry.

The podcast will premiere just ahead of Bankman-Fried's October fraud trial. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Bankman-Fried had been out on $250 million bond, but that was revoked in early August after prosecutors alleged he’d engaged in witness tampering through his continued attempts to contact members of the media, culminating in his leaking diary entries of Caroline Ellison, a former romantic and business partner, to the New York Times, CNBC reported. The 31-year-old is now being held at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center.

FTX filed for bankruptcy in November, sparking concerns about the future of the cryptocurrency industry. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) highlighted the risks of cryptocurrency in a press release announcing their arrest of Bankman-Fried, and sounded a warning to other cryptocurrency exchanges.

The podcast art for Crypto Kingpins

"We allege that Sam Bankman-Fried built a house of cards on a foundation of deception while telling investors that it was one of the safest buildings in crypto," said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. "The alleged fraud committed by Mr. Bankman-Fried is a clarion call to crypto platforms that they need to come into compliance with our laws. Compliance protects both those who invest on and those who invest in crypto platforms with time-tested safeguards, such as properly protecting customer funds and separating conflicting lines of business. It also shines a light into trading platform conduct for both investors through disclosure and regulators through examination authority. To those platforms that don’t comply with our securities laws, the SEC’s Enforcement Division is ready to take action."

USG Audio is a division of Universal Studio Group, a part of NBC Universal.

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