Reflections on SBF & the Future of Crypto with Anthony Scaramucci of SkyBridge Capital
Anthony Scaramucci is known for many things. Giving anodyne interviews is not one of them. In this unfiltered conversation, the SkyBridge founder and managing partner opens up about his relationship with Sam Bankman-Fried, the lessons he’s learned from the implosion of FTX, and why he’s still so bullish about blockchain technology.
Their conversation covered:
- [7:38] – What happens when marginal costs go to zero
- [12:01] – The power of persistence
- [24:21] – Owning your mistakes
- [40:42] – Why you should never bet against great technology
If you’re interested in learning more about Anthony Scaramucci’s perspective on, and relationship with, Sam Bankman-Fried and the ups and downs of investing, tune in to this episode of The Money Movement.
Anthony : Own the mistake because if you're not capable of owning the mistake, you're not managing your ego properly and you're living an element of your life. In denial, I don't want to do that.
Jeremy : Hi, I'm Jeremy Allaire and this is the Money Movement. I'm really excited to be here today in New York with my very special guest, Anthony Scaramucci. Awesome to have you on the show.
Anthony : It's a pleasure to be on, Jeremy. You're the special guest. Oh, come on. You're the man.
Jeremy : We're going to have fun.
Anthony : Congratulations on everything.
Jeremy : Thank you. Well, we're making progress. Lots of stuff to talk about and reflect on. You've been at it in this whole arena for a number of years for someone who kind of came in, saw a cycle, saw a change in the cycle, now kind of where we are today.
Anthony : You didn't tell me that, though. You didn't tell me I had to go through that.
Jeremy : You had to go through the cycle. Yeah.
Anthony : You didn't tell me that you age 50 years in an 18-month cycle. You didn't mention that.
Jeremy : It is actually something we tell new employees is this is going to be the hardest job you've ever had. Literally because it's intense. The intensity of all this is there.
Anthony : Well, I mean, this is something I'll say this, this is your podcast, but I gotta say this about you. You're a role model for everybody for a number of different reasons. Number one, you stay in there. Okay, there was a situation with Silicon Valley Bank in March. Things looked shaky. You shored everything up. You stayed in there. You switched your business model, made some adaptations and refinements to your business model. Yeah. And you stayed steadfast and dead set on your vision, which is now finally starting to come to fruition. Yeah. God bless you and you deserve all the success that you've had and may continue to grow. But I think there's lessons in that. Had a vision, stayed in there. The car crashes are happening. The bag is blowing up in your face and you're still in there, unrelenting. And I think that's the big lesson for young people is that you can't give up. I've been fired from the White House. I got taken by Sam Bankman-Freed from FTX. God only knows what goes on in this industry. But you and I both know that this is going to be a very big part of financial services for the future. And getting there, I'm later than you, but both getting there together, it's been quite a ride, but worth every minute of it.
Jeremy : Yeah. I think that conviction, having a vision, staying focused, it's hard. There's a lot of distractions. There's a lot of here's the new thing, here's the new thing, chase this, chase that. We've definitely tried to stay focused on that long-term vision. But I'd be interested just for you, where is your conviction today? How would you express your conviction about the future of blockchain and the financial system we could talk about? Bitcoin or this or that, but just like big picture. Your conviction, has it been shaken, and how do you feel as you think about where we are today?
Anthony : Well, I mean, last year at this time, I was getting hammered. It was actually November. I was getting hammered because of what happened with FTX. And then the New York Post, which is, even though they ripped me, I would say, once every three months, it's my favorite paper. I have to confess that's a source of my lack of intellectual depth. But there I am in the Bitcoin boat. It's a little character of me. I look like Tyrion Lannister from the Game of Thrones. I'm this high off the ground. My face is exaggerated. I look terrible in the picture. And I'm sinking in the SS mooch. And it says Scaramucci bets big on Bitcoin and gets it completely wrong. And I'm looking at the picture and the Bitcoin is at 16,500. Sam has blown himself up on the way to bankruptcy. And I said to my assistant, Can you call the New York Post and see if I can get that? Framed from them. Can I actually get the picture? Can we get it framed? If you come to my office, it's framed in my office. Now, what does that mean? I mean, either crazy, I'm going to be very, very right and Bitcoin is going to do what I think it does, which hopefully gets to a six figure handle sometime in the next decade, or I'm going to be very, very wrong and then it won't matter. But if I'm right, it's reminiscent of what Jeff Bezos did at Amazon. His stock went from 116% to 98% down. And the Barons had his head in a bomb. And it said, Amazon.bomb, the age of this internet retailer is over. And Jeff shot himself in outer space. I think he took Captain Kirk with him on like a secondary mission. So the point I'm making is that you're somebody I admire. Because you're in it. And you're in it willing to absorb the pain and you're willing to lead. Because what happens with leadership is your plans go awry, your contact with the enemy forces you to change the plans. Or as Mike Tyson says, everyone's got a plan that you can punch in the face. You and I have been punched in the face, but it knocked out of the rink, okay? And so we're climbing into the rink again. And I haven't, I've been on stinting, I will say this, this is, some of my clients are very happy about this, some of my clients are very upset with me. I established my Bitcoin position in November of 2020. It's probably an average cost, 17,000, 18,000. Haven't sold a coin, added to it, frankly, and I haven't sold a coin. So we'll have to see what happens, but that's my conviction level. So that's where I am in terms of where I think the future is. And what I tell people when I run to them and they say, I don't really understand the blockchain, it's a delayering mechanism. And I always use Circle and your business model. So just imagine you can walk into a restaurant, you can walk into a hotel, and you have a Circle stablecoin on your app, and you are now doing a transaction, which is incrementally saving costs and so forth. And I'll give a very vivid example. I own a restaurant here in New York City called the Hunt and Fish Club with a few partners. We have a 15% gross margin. If I pay with a Circle stablecoin and I bypass the credit card vendors, my gross margin goes up 22.5% because you're going from 15% to 18.5% on the gross margin.
Jeremy : On a margin basis, it's incredible. Any retail, anything, it's just like, it's incredible. And you see that, right?
Anthony : I see Circle, and I love the name because of the universality of the name, but I see Circle as the great economic accelerator. I see Circle as someone who wants to say, well, what happened with Circle? Well, they became the economically efficient accelerator, which led to way more innovation. I love it. Because, no, it's only you think about it.
Jeremy : I'm with you. It's right there with our mission statement.
Anthony : If I'm saving 20% on my gross margin. My gross margin is improving 20%. I can buy more food. I can experiment on the menu. I can add maybe more staff. I can lower prices. And so this is the thing that the visionaries in our industry understand about the blockchain. It's this wonderful delayering mechanism, which takes third parties out of the equation, which can make everybody richer and happier.
Jeremy : I think people like, it's great. All that is, I think, spot on. And with other parts of the internet, which did the same thing, when you had the marginal cost of sending a piece of data go to zero and the marginal cost of having a voice connection with someone go to zero and the marginal cost of publishing a piece of content went to zero, when you get marginal cost down. Then the actual world output of whatever that is just explodes. So if you get the marginal cost of storing and moving money to zero. Then the amount of economic activity that can happen can explode, right? And so I call it like, the new physics of money, which is the money will have the physics of the internet, which is essentially just frictionless, instant, global, free, and that will create an increase in economic velocity and obviously it takes huge amounts of, it creates economic value, it redistributes from these layers, right, but it also actually increase in the velocity actually will enhance and grow economic activity as well.
Anthony : So we agree, but I'll just reference something. A while back, Steve Covey wrote a book called The Speed of Trust. And when I hear the word circle, I think trust, because we don't like and we generally don't trust each other as human beings. We like our clan, we like our tribe, we like our family. And so I'm not going to sell a house to a stranger without a corresponding bank. Please wire the money to my bank. I wait for my bank to tell me that they got the money and then I hand the deed. Right? Because I don't trust the person. But what Circle represents and what the blockchain represents is trust. And what Covey said in the book is that there's speed to trust. You and I grew up together. We know each other. We know each other's families.
Jeremy : You have a high bandwidth relationship. You have it.
Anthony : We're going to do a transaction in a second. We don't know each other. We've got 15 lawyers. There's a 15 page document before we start doing business together. What you're doing is delineating those documents. You're delineating those intermediaries. And so I guess the thing that puzzles me about all this right now. Is that it's not new anymore. Okay, what you're doing, what Skybridge represents in the space or other people that are crypto-centric are doing, it's not new anymore, yet there's still a lot of resistance, regulatory resistance, resistance from the old regime. It's like the phone company saying, hey, you know what, I really don't wanna move from $3 a minute for that long distance call. And that's the big trouble.
Jeremy : Big industry structural changes take time, right? Hollywood fought giving up movie libraries and to streaming and VOD. I mean, I was in online video space before Circle and so I remember closely like. The movement of television, the internet, and the resistance and the regulatory capture and everything that happened. But it was sort of clear that it was inevitable, right? There'd be an infinite celestial jukebox of video in the sky. Everyone would be able to publish. It would be this huge, transformative thing. But it takes, these things take 10 or 20 years, and that's okay. You just need to have that perspective. And obviously you need to have the conviction and the wherewithal, because of all the punches that we talked about and stuff.
Anthony : I've learned this the hard way, but I think it's worth stating. If the product is cheaper. If the product is going to give the consumer better results at a lower price. It's going to get adopted. Whether the phone company wanted the minutes to go from $3 a minute to zero, or the bank wanted the transaction to stay at 3.5%.
Jeremy : The technology progress is just going to happen. I was tweeting today, there was Solana, which has got a lot of shots taken at it for downtime or because it was promoted by SBF, it was like it must be bad or whatever. They just keep shipping and their network scalability is getting better and better and they've got infrastructure on the horizon to get to like a million transactions per second based on improvements in bandwidth and compute power. You can scale. Almost anything on that, right? And that's amazing.
Anthony : I'm a huge fan of those guys. And the technology is super fast. And I just think Anatoly's gotta figure it out. Now he's saddled with some things that happened to him related to FTX and the position that FTX and the bankruptcy estate owns in that thing. But that will work itself out. That's the lesson to people. You got to stay in something. I have had six, business obituaries and one political obituary written about me. I'm still here. Okay, I'm just telling you, I was six foot eight when I got started. I've lost a little height, but I'm still here. And the point being, the younger people don't give up. You gotta be in the game, you gotta stay in the game. I am certain. And there had to be moments at Circle where you felt the walls closing in. You were like Luke Skywalker in the Trash Compactor episode 4. Multiple times. The world's coming to an end. What the hell am I going to do? The Circle's going to become a compressed square. And then all of a sudden you're like, okay, I'm going to stay in this. Then I'm going to reach out. I tell young people. Ask for the favor. You know, what did Ben Franklin say? You want to create a friend, ask the person for a favor. It sounds counterintuitive, but the minute you create the reciprocating, potential reciprocity in the relationship, you got something going, you know?
Jeremy : As an entrepreneur, right, people are always telling you why you're wrong and why it won't work and why, you know, that's one of the things I tell people who are starting companies, like, you know, what does it take and so on. It's like, everyone's gonna tell you why what you're trying to do is gonna fail. And so you need to be ready for that. And you're gonna face, you're just gonna face failure all the time, right? It's just, it's built in to it. The number of situations where, you know, people like have an idea, it does it, it gonna explode, et cetera. It's like, that's like winning the lottery, right? And so that isn't about necessarily execution even.
Anthony : So if you don't mind me asking you a question. Have you gotten to the point where that's no longer happening to you, where people are starting to see the evolution of your vision, the manifestation and execution of it?
Jeremy : I think a lot of people, absolutely. I mean, it's our 10 year anniversary and like. There's an incredible amount of that people recognize, like it's here to stay and this is happening and it's gonna be much more massive than it is today. But there's still absolutely people who just refuse to believe that stable coins are gonna be anything other than quote unquote poker chips at a casino or the government's gonna shut them down or, I mean, there's just, you know, you pick it and that's fine, I don't really care.
Anthony : Well, listen, I mean, it's representative of property. And so one thing, I mean, I didn't learn much in law school. I think like. First thing I learned in law school, Jeremy, don't be a lawyer. I thought that was the most obvious thing to learn in a law school. But the thing I learned about property in the United States is that our property rights are sacrosanct. And so if you have a digital property, a stable coin, a digital property, Bitcoin, and the IRS is saying that Bitcoin is intangible property, Definitionally, that's property. And so our property rights go back to the Magna Corter. So we have 900 years of precedent to protect our property rights. So you can get regulators that come and go that can be potentially arbitrary and capricious or politically motivated, but our judicial system is fairly well grounded and precedent. And so I try to remind people, yeah, you may think they're going to regulate it out of existence, but it's property. It's impossible to do that in a country like ours. And that's been one of the pillars of US economic strength, is the protection of US property rights.
Jeremy : That's a great point. Another way of thinking about that is it's a little bit of like the genie's out of the bottle, which is like once something comes out and it gets established and people have it and they like it and they use it, it's hard to put that back. And you've seen this with something like Uber, which just scaled and grew all over the world.
Anthony : No regular wanted Uber.
Jeremy : No one wanted it. Everyone was opposed, but everyone who used it loved it. And so you couldn't put that genie back in the bottle and then society adapts. I remember this from I've been in the internet industry for almost 30 years, like streaming audio, which now obviously we're doing a podcast, we're doing this, that. It's like ubiquitous. Anyone can publish any audio to anyone anywhere in the world. You don't need a license from a government to do audio broadcasts, to do any of this. You don't need, but that was like super regulated. And people thought, there's no, if you want to be able to publish audio to someone over the internet, you're going to need to go around the world and get radio licenses from every government. But then software and the internet, it worked and you had a mobile device and it was just like people wouldn't accept that, that the genie's out of the bottle. And I think stable coins are like that. I think blockchain is like that. I think that all these innovations and smart contracts are like that, like the genie's out of the bottle. It doesn't mean there won't be meaningful regulation. There will be, and that's important. But I think there's a way in which this grows. I want to come back to this trust thing and the breach of trust. That has happened in this market and you've experienced yourself as well. The timing is relevant, right? The FTX trial has just started as this episode is going online. I know you spent time with Michael Lewis, who's published a book that's just been published on this as well. I want to explore that a little bit. As you know, I was up close to all this for many years.
Anthony : You were near the blast zone.
Jeremy : Yeah, near the blast zone and knew Sam from his first trades early on. There's a lot to reflect on there, surely, but as this circus unfolds and you think about what happened, we'd love just first your top line thoughts on what you think is going to play out here a little bit.
Anthony : Let me frame it this way because I think it's important. This is one of the largest frauds. In U.S. Economic history. And for a fraud to be successful, you've got to induct very smart people into the fraud. Because I'm not going to name the people because they get always upset with me, but there are venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, large institutional asset managers, a whole slew of sovereign wealth funds that gave Sam Bankman freed money and were making a bet on FTX. And then the media was involved. You know, Fortune and Forbes had them on the front cover. It was a Forbes 400. And you had celebrities that were involved. And so this is one of the largest frauds in U.S. Financial history. I got taken, and yet my PR people would hate me to say that. And my PR people, crisis management people, don't talk about it. Go away, scurry away, and pretend it didn't happen to you, and blah, blah. But if you do that, okay, so I take the counterintuitive approach to that. If you do that, then the learning gets dissipated. And if you do that, then the realness of your personality gets dissipated. But what I tell my kids is that if you have integrity, there will always be opportunity for you. I got taken by Sam Bankman freed. So heads up, we gave him money in one of his rounds. He was a sponsor of Salt. I think you may remember that. We did a big event for him in the Bahamas, which you guys were gracious enough to come to. And I believed in him. So much so that in August of 2022, I had a handshake deal with him where I sold him 30% of my business. He wired me that money in the beginning of September of last year. So 12-ish months ago, I was riding high. I want you to think about this. I sold a piece of my business to Sam. I thought I was selling my business to the Mark Zuckerberg of crypto. I did not realize that he was the Bernie Madoff of crypto until nine short weeks later, Jeremy, I got the call that he was mismatching his book and that he was moving client money into what was known as Alameda, which is basically his personal account. It was so shocking to me, okay, and it was 10 o'clock at night. I can tell you exactly where I was. I was in my bedroom, November 7th, 2022. I hung up the phone with the general counsel, the US general counsel for FTX. I turned my face, I don't believe what's going on. So what I'm going to do right now, on my phone, I'm going to book a flight to the Mohamas on JetBlue. I took the 6.50 a.m. Flight, and I arrived in the Bahamas on November 8th, and I had to go see Sam and his dad. Because I could not believe what was going on. And when I left there, Okay, I knew I was losing money, right? The position off to zero. I knew now a piece of my business was owned by somebody that was gonna have to go into bankruptcy. I knew the CZ finance deal could not possibly happen based on what I had learned. And I was devastated to say that I was devastated. And also he embarrassed me because I took him around the world. I took him to the Middle East. I had a meet with MBS, MBC, friends of mine from around the world.
Jeremy : And you were used.
Anthony : 100%. I was you. So you could do two things with that. You could be horrified and embarrassed and shamed by that, there's elements of that, or you can sit on Jeremy Allaire's podcast and talk about it so that somebody can learn from it and somebody can go, okay, what did Anthony do wrong? What did he do right? And how did he get this so wrong? So let's talk about those three things, then we can talk about anything you want. Number one, okay, too much collective thinking and buy-in. Yes, his data room was pristine. Yes, my people did due diligence. Yes, we thought everything, but there was too much collective buy-in. Okay, we're all soaked in it together. Number two-
Jeremy : Is it the ultimate of kind of momentum thinking?
Anthony : Yeah, momentum thinking, but also, you know, XYZ's in it. I want to be in the XYZ club with these super smart, sophisticated people, so I'm going to join the club. Okay. Number two, and this is very, very important, this is why your business is so successful and it's going to exponentially grow from here, the trust factor. There were four people operating the money inside of FTX, and I'm going to tell you right now, you want to commit a financial crime, it has to be a closed network. At SkyBridge, we have 50 people looking at something. We have our administrators, our top known banks, we have our accountants, they're the big four. We have law firms like the blue chip law firms that you know about, but what Sam did was he had four people working on something. And by the way- Because I've reflected upon it, Bernie Madoff did the same thing, Jeremy. You want to commit a financial crime, you have three or four people closely knit around the money creating the crime. There's always a person of conscience. If you put 50 people in a room, one person is gonna raise their hand and say, you know what, I'm sorry, this doesn't work for me. Four people, you can get away with it, for a period of time at least. So that's the learning lesson. Number one, group think, you gotta avoid that. Be skeptical. Unfortunately in our world, everybody is guilty until you prove them innocent through your due diligence. Number two. Close group of people. They can commit the crime, so you have to find out where the money is and how the money is protected. And then the third thing, which is to me the most important thing. Is when you get it wrong, own it. Own the mistake because if you're not capable of owning the mistake, you're not managing your ego properly and you're living an element of your life in denial. I don't want to do that. I don't want to do that. Five children, I have to show them that I can get through something. I have employees, partners. Hey, we're going to survive this. We're going to get through this. But we made a mistake. We saw something in Sam that didn't exist. I can pretend, oh, well, there were 25 other people that saw it, and so therefore I've got good cover. No, I got to take personal responsibility for the mistakes that I made and the business judgment that I had in doing business with him, taking money from him, and giving him money in that round that we participated in.
Jeremy : It's interesting. I mean, I think that's a great question. Yeah, a lot of lessons. Got to know Sam a bit over years. Obviously, super smart guy, incredibly smart guy.
Anthony : Charismatic. In an awkward nerdy way, but he was charismatic.
Jeremy : Sure, absolutely. It's interesting though, it's like there was always something that bothered me, which was like, felt like. Everything for Sam. Was like a game. Like he was like, this is like, this is like a giant complex game that he's playing. And in a sense that nothing actually had meaning. And everything was just like, I'm just optimizing for getting to the next level of this game, right? It's literally someone who had spent their life in games. And just trying to figure out how do I solve the puzzle and play the next level of the game. And he struck me that way. And so actually there's interviews I've done with him. He's been on this podcast. I had him converge and other things. Multiple times I would sort of ask him in different ways, like, why are you doing this? Like, why bother? Like, what's the point? Like, what are you really trying to do here? And the answers were never satisfactory to me. Like there wasn't actually like conviction about real problems that he could solve. I mean, there was the whole. Effective altruism piece, which was like, I want to like save the world from, you know, all these things or whatever. And like you could talk about like that in the abstract, but like very concretely, like You'd have him on an interview about like, you know, it's sort of like the Matt Levine interview he did about, you know, the box and you put things in the box and it kind of laid bare like. He's just playing the game and it doesn't really matter. So in asking him these questions about like, why are you doing this? Are you through this technology actually trying to improve the world? Are you actually trying to improve this or are you just trying to optimize for like just being able to create the biggest money machine or whatever that is, whatever you're trying to do? That was always like just to me like a concern, because from my own experience at least, I think. Great entrepreneurs and builders are grounded really deeply in a very clear mission for what they're trying to do and change and not just game players.
Anthony : They also view the power as a responsibility. The best entrepreneurs that I've met in my life are like, okay, they've, created the business, they're garnering power, but they now review it as a responsibility and it didn't ultimately feel that way. I mean, I can reflect upon all the things that I got wrong, but since you're bringing this up, one of the things that happened to me on November the 8th was the observation of Sam's disassociation. And so I don't know if you remember that scene in Private Ryan where they're in the battle, they're on Normandy Beach and the infantryman's arm is blown off. He's got the arm in his hand, he's looking at it. It's like, I can't believe this has happened to me. He's beginning the process of disassociation and denialism. Sam was all about that on November the 8th. And he was disassociating from the reality of what he perpetrated and he's a little snarky. And so he'll say things and he said things to journalists recently. I guess my life is not gonna end up as a net positive, meaning he's made less of a contribution to the world than he's taken from the world. And I know this probably doesn't reflect well on me, but I'm gonna say it anyway, you know? I'm sad about it because I have children. I have children that are Sam's age. My oldest son is six months younger than Sam. I took my oldest son with me to the Middle East with Sam. And we had left a meeting in Riyadh and we flew to Dubai. It was two o'clock in the morning. We were getting ready for the next day. And I took my son to the DIFC, you know, the Irving Well. And I'm going up the elevator with him and he looks at me saying, He's a transformational. Entrepreneur, we're hanging out with like the next Zuckerberg or the next Musk. Okay, and I believe that. I believe that. Okay. And so, when this went down, I picked up the phone, I called my son, and I said, okay, so we got this wrong, okay, and it's very important to own that we got it wrong, but there's also a lesson here, okay? My dad who recently passed away, age 88, had a great life. Was a crane operator. And he grew up in a family of coal miners in Northeastern Pennsylvania. So it's all about expectations of life, Jeremy. He came to Long Island to mine sand. He was outdoors. His dad was in the ground. So he thought it was fantastic. He had a high blue collar wage. We grew up in the middle class. And he paid his taxes. He paid his parking tickets. He did everything. I always said to myself, you can't do anything to dishonor your no-no. Okay, this guy helped us get to where we are. Okay, you know, when I got into Tufts, because I know you're a current Bostonian.
Jeremy : I lived in Davis Square.
Anthony : So when I got to Tufts, April of 1982, accepted to Tufts University. My father came home from work. He used to go to work early, come home three o'clock in the afternoon. He had a $10,000 check. There's a lot of money in 1982. I said, Pop, what is that? He said, well, I cash the cash value of my life insurance because I don't really have the money to have you go to Tufts. There was a guidance counselor by the name of Mr. Zanetti. He came to my father's house. He spoke to him in Italian, an Italian guidance counselor. I was going to SUNY Binghamton, and Zanetti told my father, don't send this kid to SUNY Binghamton. You got to send them to a private school. You can get into Tufts and ba-ba-ba. It's more expensive than being in there, but send them to Tufts. It's going to be a better life experience for them. So my father was like, well, this is what the guy says to do. We're going to go do this. We didn't have the money. Mm. He gave me a $10,000 check. He cashed in his life insurance. Okay, so I tell my son. What do you need? Okay. Are you crazy? Never do anything to dishonor him. So you can call me stupid if I bought you Bitcoin at 50,000 and it's trading to 26,000. You can say that I made mistakes in the 2008 financial crisis. Fine. Okay. But you can't take away the integrity or the honesty of the approach. And so for me, that's the thing I can't figure out about Sam. I knew his mom and dad. I'd gotten closer to his dad. Jeremy, the pain that I saw, you have children. The pain that I saw on Professor Joe Banksman Freed's face on November 8th is a pain that I will never forget. Your son is just committed as multiple billion-dollar fraud. He's liked to go to jail for a good part of his adult life and he's hurt people and he hurt the industry and he hurt people that trusted him. Think of the pain as parent. Yes, I'm mad at Sam and I'm upset with him but I also see the pathos of the situation.
Jeremy : Yeah, pathos is right. I think it’ll be interesting. By the time this comes out, many people will probably have read Michael Lewis's book. I had a chance to talk to Michael as he was working on the book before the blow up and I'm sure you've talked to Michael before and after. But Michael has a way of, I mean, I understand he's spent just an incredible amount of time with Sam and I know he had been prior. Are we gonna get inside the head a little bit more and what is that gonna look like?
Anthony : Well, I guess Michael, I mean, I haven't talked to Michael in a while. I did talk to him after the explosion. But I think Michael believes him.
Jeremy : Yeah.
Anthony : You know, I could be wrong. I mean, it's interesting to see how the book comes out, but my interaction with Michael, Crypto Bahamas, which I helped put on for Sam, my interactions with him there, the dinners that we hosted, which you attended. Michael was a big believer in Sam, by the way, as was I. And Michael at one point said to me, you know, If he turns out to be a fraud, I think it was right after the bankruptcy was approaching. I think Michael still believed that there wasn't something wrong there. Was criminal. And he said to me, oh, it turns out that before I probably won't write the book. He didn't say definitively he wouldn't write it. But the point was he didn't want to make a notorious figure more famous. So I would like to, I'm looking forward to reading the book because I want to see his take on everybody and his take on everything.
Jeremy : Yeah, I think to the Michael Lewis kind of topic, that there's a narrative of, you know, Sam was in over his head. He didn't really understand what he needed to have in place for like good controls that he thought legally the way he was operating was allowed. Like, it's a kind of like, you know, he meant to do well. He didn't know he was doing this. Right. And so on.
Anthony : Well, that'll be an interesting take, but I don't believe that. Yeah. Because post-fact too much has come out.
Jeremy : Is obviously. Extremely like detail oriented and like thinking about things and how they work and the construction of stuff and so it'll be interesting but well,
Anthony : Let me rephrase it. Let me rephrase it. If your assessment is correct. Mm-hmm that it was a video game Yeah, okay And a trade then I do think that because what happens with people that can disassociate they can equivocate totally see alongside a Disassociation is equivocation, you know God complex. I'm smarter than other people. Exactly, I can borrow your money temporarily. It's I'll get the trade right up with the money back. It's a means to an end
Jeremy : It's a game. So if you're playing this that's what I see your eyes
Anthony : I you know, listen, you know, just imagine this nightmare for me. I'm on CNBC squawk with Sam September 7th announcing the deal We're then going into the salt conference and so forth and then nine short weeks later. I'm back on CNBC Yeah, okay at the squawk box Announcing that there's a debacle going on in the Bahamas and then I think Joe or Andrew Sorkin said to me. Well, was it fraud? And I said, listen, fraud is a legal definition. On November the 9th or the 10th, whenever I was being interviewed, I wasn't ready to say that it was fraud, because I didn't have enough evidence. And also people should be given the benefit of the doubt as it relates to the judicial and legal process. But he asked me that now after talking to his staff, talking to his GC, talking to people that were inside the blast zone, it was fraud in my mind. And now we'll have to see if he gets convicted or not. But let me tell you something, okay, if the window's open and you hear clippity-clop outside, it's a horse, it's not a zebra. So if you've got three people on the team that have already said they're guilty, Ryan Salam says he's guilty, that's the fourth person, they're all inside the inner circle, you're the only one not guilty? Now maybe, and maybe the argument will be, well, I didn't know better, and the lawyers told me it was okay to do this.
Jeremy : It's a tough defense.
Anthony : I don't think so. You know right from wrong in life, okay? And it's like what Potter Stewart once said in a very famous Supreme Court case about pornography. They were trying to define pornography, and Potter Stewart, a legendary comment, said, you know, I know it when I see it. And that really just sums it all up, okay? You know fraud when you see it. You can feel it. You know right from wrong. I know right from wrong. What he did was absolutely cataclysmic, and it was tragic. But here's the great news about what he did, okay? It's behind us. And the great news about what he did, and some of those other nefarious actors, we flushed out a lot of excess in the system and leverage and a lot of chicanery. And we're now in the aftermath of that, where a place like Circle is shining and growing its business. We're regrowing our business. There's entrants like BlackRock now filing for Bitcoin ETFs among many others. And all of a sudden we're mainstreaming the ideas around digital property and digital assets in the aftermath of this. And it's a more sober expectation for everybody because of what happened. So there's always a silver lining somewhere.
Jeremy : I see that too. I mean, I see there's been a huge clearing of things in many ways. I've always come at this as a technologist. I've always been interested in what can you actually do, what can the technology actually do to solve problems? And when I look at what's happening right now, when I look at what's happening in blockchain infrastructure, in the layers that are being built to make this usable and safe and to make it work in a regulated context, all of these things, I am more optimistic than I've ever been. And so I want to end on a positive note, which is genuinely, I am more bullish and more optimistic than I've ever been about the state of this technology and where we're going. So we're 10 years in. I told my founding investors and every employee, this is at least a 10 to 20 year journey, just to get to the basic set of ideas that we had when we started the company. I think we're getting there. And when I look at what's been accomplished, even just in the past few years, technology-wise, and when I look at what's happening and the fact that almost every government in the world is putting a rule book in place. It's phenomenal. So I'm super optimistic right now. And so I think a year from now, it's a year past since a lot of challenging stuff. I think we're gonna continue to see.
Anthony : Well, you know, look, I'm with you, but here's the thing, I always tell people. Don't bet against technology and don't bet against growth. Tom Malthus in the 1840s said the population is growing, we can't grow the food fast enough, we're gonna starve. Well he left out irrigation and genetically modified food and better food. We have more people dying from obesity-related illnesses than starvation. When I was a kid at Tufts, they told me peak oil theory. We're running out of oil by 2010. That was 25 years after the statement was made, I was like, oh my God, we're gonna run out of oil. You have more oil than we know what to do with. We figured out fracking and geo-positioning off of the satellites and GPS. We have more, I mean, could cause a problem environmentally with all the oil that we have. And the third thing is don't bet against great technology. And so if you have something in the marketplace, an electric piece of money that can be moved at the speed of light in a trustworthy way, is that better than waiting five days for your stock to settle or three days for international wire to go through? Is that better? Oh, it's also cheaper. Oh, okay, that's not gonna work. That's gonna work, Jeremy. Yeah. Okay, and I'm proud to be a part of the journey with you.
Jeremy : Well, that's a very optimistic and kind note to conclude. It's great to have you on.
Anthony : It's great to be on. Thank you, real pleasure.