Sam Bankman-Fried says rice is ‘one of the currencies’ behind bars

Sam Bankman-Fried has swapped crypto for a new kind of currency behind bars: bags of rice.

The disgraced FTX founder has been jailed at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center as he waits to be transferred to a federal prison to serve a 25-year sentence.

Bankman-Fried was convicted for wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy last year.

Sam Bankman-Fried has been sustaining himself on rice — and using it as currency. AP

The 32-year-old fallen crypto king said that rice “has become one of the currencies of the realm inside MDC,” during his first jailhouse interview, given to Puck News.

“The arbitrage opportunities (on rice) in jail were better than anything he experienced trading crypto,” Bankman-Fried told William D. Cohan during the wide-ranging, 75-minute interview published Thursday.

The renowned vegan also said his diet consists mostly of rice and beans.

Bankman-Fried found the vegan meals he was served “inedible” as they “literally smelled like s–t,” he told Cohan, who estimated the former billionaire has dropped at least 25 pounds since being incarcerated.

The FTX fraudster also revealed he sleeps in a bunk bed in a big open room that holds 35 other men and four television sets tuned to ESPN, Telemundo, BET and a news channel” during the interview with Cohan, who was not allowed to take notes or record their conversation.

He said he has “no privacy” and suffers from “extreme boredom.”

Bankman-Fried doesn’t sleep well, according to Puck, “but mostly because people sometimes bug him during the night about those bags of rice, which they intend to use to barter.”

Bankman-Fried is woken up by inmates during the night who try to barter with him for bags of rice, he told Puck News. grinchh –

It wasn’t immediately clear what Bankman-Fried “buys” with his rice, or what he trades it for.

Bankman-Fried said that he doesn’t fear for his safety inside MDC despite sharing a room with many convicted murderers.

The dormitory-style area is in a section of the jail that’s mostly dedicated to incarcerated women, Bankman-Fried said, adding that he’s bored by the TVs and would rather watch movies or play video games — which he’s allowed to do on a tablet without internet connection.

Puck’s William D. Cohan estimated that Bankman-Fried has lost around 25 pounds since being locked up. Obtained by Tiffany Fong

Bankman-Fried also has been permitted to take his prescription medications — a cocktail he told Puck that allows him to think clearly ahead of the legal battle to appeal his conviction for swiping FTX user funds to plug an $8 billion debt at sister company Alameda Research.

Bankman-Fried has vowed since his firm’s collapse that he wanted to pay victims back in full.

Earlier this week, FTX told a bankruptcy court that the crypto exchange has raked in billions of dollars more than it needs to fully pay back customers who lost funds in its November 2022 collapse.

Bankman-Fried has called Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center home since August 2023. This jail has also housed Jeffrey Epstein and his lover Ghislaine Maxwell. AP

In a rare twist versus typical US bankruptcy proceedings, FTX also has enough money to cover interest, Bloomberg earlier reported.

Once it finishes selling all of its assets, FTX will have as much as $16.3 billion in cash to distribute versus about $6.4 billion earlier this year, the company said in a statement.

The firm owes more than 2 million customers and other non-governmental creditors about $11 billion.

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