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#80 - Five hours

Description: Image of a wooden gavel on a marble-like surface.

A few weeks back, at the start of the SBF trial, I noted that I wouldn’t provide play-by-play coverage. It’s not that I found the trial itself unimportant; it’s that I was skipping the minutia, holding off for something meaningful to happen.

Well, something meaningful has sure as hell happened:

One year after FTX imploded, a jury took only five hours to find SBF guilty on all counts.

Five. Hours. Less time than a flight from New York to London. Or to get through an LA traffic jam.

We’ll have to wait until March 2024 for the sentencing. But the verdict is in. So what does that mean? Here’s my take:

Down, but not out. I expect SBF will appeal. I don’t have any insider details there; I simply reason that a guy staring down the barrel of up to 110 years in prison – about ten Theranoses, if you’re into the math – has a lot of reasons to keep trying.

On to the next one. Not a whole lot will change in the tech sector. Trust me. I’ve been here for more than [redacted] years and I expect it will do its usual of moving on to the Next Hot Thing™.

It’d be easy to say that’s because the tech field will develop a convenient case of amnesia. And there may be some truth to that. A less cynical view is that tech realizes that the occasional Company Gone Extremely Wrong is not an indictment of the entire field. Let’s remember how much fraud exists without crypto, and that no one is throwing away their phone or closing out their e-mail account as a result.

Whither Trabs?? Sam Trabucco, co-CEO at FTX’s sister operation Alameda Research, resigned just a few weeks before everything unwound. He apparently wanted to spend more time on his boat, the tastefully-named Soak My Deck. Given all of the “hey where’d Trabs go?” rumors, I’d expected him to appear as a surprise witness at the trial. Guess not.

(Trabucco’s departure inspired a meme about him hanging out on a boat called the Much Wow – named for the Three Arrows Capital yacht – and it was recycled every time another famous name left the crypto space. I was sadly unable to find an example in time for this newsletter.)

A slight change in terminology here at Block & Mortar. I can drop the term “allegedly” when describing various FTX activities.

The wrap-up

This was an issue of Block & Mortar.

Who’s behind Block & Mortar? I'm Q McCallum. I've spent the past two decades in the emerging-tech space. And I'm very interested in web3 use cases.

Credit where it's due. Big thanks to Shane Glynn for reviewing early drafts. Any mistakes that remain are mine.

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