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‘Like a 1930s Dictator’: Vitalik Buterin Lays Into Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX

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Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum co-founder and perhaps one of the most recognizable people in crypto, chastised ex-FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried today when asked about the businessman and the collapse of his exchange

At the LaBitConf conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the man behind the second-biggest cryptocurrency said the colossal collapse of FTX was inevitable because of its centralized nature. 

“This year we’ve seen a huge number of things that break because they have a model which is fundamentally bad,” Buterin said when asked about the collapse of FTX and other cryptocurrency companies this year. 

FTX was once one of the most popular digital asset exchanges on the planet, but it imploded this week after it emerged that its celebrity CEO owner, known simply as “SBF” within crypto circles, used customer deposits to make risky bets—blowing billions of dollars up in smoke. 

On Friday, SBF—once one of the richest men in crypto—filed for bankruptcy and saw his networth go from $16 billion to zero after his exchange crumbled. 

“There is trust in a guy that goes around, wears a suit and gives himself a name like ‘Bankman’,” Buterin said today, noting the ads of the crypto celeb plastered around San Francisco. 

Buterin noted that people were more interested in the marketing of FTX and the “personalistic style” similar to that of “1930s dictators” which is the “exact opposite of every ethos of crypto is a project that tries to be decentralized.”

Ethereum is the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market cap and runs on the eponymous Ethereum blockchain. As one of the founders, Buterin is highly recognizable and has been criticized for the cult of personality surrounding him—just like Sam Bankman-Fried—and therefore making the project more centralized. 

Other speakers at the event went after Buterin himself following Ethereum founders comments: Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song blasted people for “trusting Vitalik with their money.”

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