Sam Bankman-Fried: From Crypto Billionaire to Mak Currency User in Prison
The once hailed crypto billionaire, Sam Bankman-Fried, has now resorted to using mackerel as a form of currency at the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York. According to the Wall Street Journal, this adaptation aligns with the economic norms of prison life, wherein inmates, including a former Honduran president and a high-ranking Mexican official, often use food items as currency. The trend of using mackerel, known as “macks,” began after the ban on cigarettes in federal prisons in 2004.
The Mackerel: A Stable Currency in Prison
In an environment where traditional money is inaccessible, stable and tangible goods like mackerel have become the preferred currency. Despite inflationary pressures and increasing demand, with a pack of mackerel fillets now costing $1.30, up from $1 in 2020, this system provides a form of economic stability. Prison consultant Bill Baroni, who has firsthand experience of incarceration, noted that SBF paid four macks for a haircut just before his trial, jokingly adding:
The mackerel monetary system is more stable than cryptocurrency.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s Conviction and Current Situation
SBF, convicted on November 2 of all seven criminal charges related to the collapse of FTX, faces a potential sentence of up to 115 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for March 28. Despite his attempts to secure his release, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied his latest request. Amidst these legal battles, Bankman-Fried, known for his involvement in one of the largest financial frauds in US history, has been seen offering cryptocurrency advice to prison guards, a striking contrast to his former life as a leading figure in the crypto world.