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Sam Bankman-(Never Getting)Friedby@sheharyarkhan
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Sam Bankman-(Never Getting)Fried

by Sheharyar KhanApril 4th, 2024
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Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to a quarter of a century in prison after he and his lawyers failed to convince a U.S. district judge that the former crypto mogul was an autistic altruist who never intended to harm anybody.
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Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to a quarter of a century in prison after he and his lawyers failed to convince a U.S. district judge that the former crypto mogul was an autistic altruist who never intended to harm anybody.


The judgment itself is pretty damning, and while SBF's lawyers plan to appeal, there's a lot to unpack here. First, regardless of how the appeal process plays out, Sam Bankman is probably going to prison for a long, long time. And despite attempts at maintaining his innocence, the prosecution's evidence points to the contrary.


Second, Sam Bankman-Fried's fall from grace is not so much about what happened but how it happened. For those that don't remember, everything was going A-OK at Sam Bankman-Fried's crypto exchange, FTX, until he decided to pick a fight with Binance founder and former Chief Executive Changpeng "CZ" Zhao which led the latter to (allegedly) cause a bank run that resulted in the demise of the third-largest crypto exchange in the US.


Third, there is something inherently wrong with the crypto industry, as it always seems to attract some of the most dubious personalities in the world. Speaking of which, Binance's Zhao may have had the last laugh following the FTX debacle but his victory has been pretty short-lived since he has had to step down as the CEO of the world's largest crypto exchange. This decision came as part of a guilty plea with the US Department of Justice over a number of charges, including money laundering.


The only exchange that has been able to weather most, if not all, of the turbulence so far has been Coinbase and its Chief Executive Brian Armstrong. Look, I don't know what it is with the Lex Luthor lookalike, but Armstrong clearly knows how to navigate through these troubling times to come out on top.


Anyway, the internet did what it always does when things like these happen: pump and dump memecoins, leaving some with big wads of cash and most with a worthless token.


Now, if you're wondering whether the sentence is fair, first of all, nothing in life is fair, but second: a lot of the media reports agree that things might have looked differently for SBF if he had actually managed to show some actual remorse over what happened and owned up to his mistakes.


But since SBF kept skirting around the issue, and the judge in the case noticed, he's been sentenced to prison for two-and-a-half decades.


I'll keep you posted on the appeal proceedings.


Sorry to break your immersion, hackers. We have an important update to share. The Tech Company News Brief aka the newsletter you’re currently reading is going to go through an overhaul in the near future with a new theme and a new name. Keep your eyes peeled! We’re very excited to show you the new format (soon!).

Amazon to Say Buh-Bye to Cashierless System 💸

If you were hoping to hop in-n-out of an Amazon store in the US, I've got bad news for you.


The world's foremost authority on everything eCommerce has decided that it wants nothing to do with the technology (which it lovingly called Just Walk Out), at least in the US.


According to media reports, Amazon will be stamping out the system from its Fresh grocery stores and replacing it with the Dash Cart instead which allows buyers to scan items as they go.


Amazon ranked #9 on HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings this week.

Canada Comes After Social Media Big Boys

The good folks in Canada have had it with social media companies' shenanigans, so much so that they're taking them to court.


The Toronto District School Board has filed a lawsuit against Meta Platforms, TikTok owner ByteDance, and Snapchat for allegedly creating addictive products that are harmful to a younger audience (think adolescents and teens) and has sought 4.5 billion Canadian dollars in damages (roughly $3.3 billion US).


This wouldn't be the first time social media companies are blamed for a decline in youth mental health, with research, both independent and commissioned by these companies themselves, showing a clear link between the two.


Whether the companies actually end up paying for the damage they've caused (or might be causing) is yet to be seen.


Meta's Facebook and Instagramranked #2 and #4 this week, respectively.

In Other News.. 📰

  • Bitcoin ETF Trading Volumes Tripled in March as the Largest Cryptocurrency Hit Record Highs — via CoinDesk
  • Opera allows users to download and use LLMs locally — via TechCrunch
  • US government review faults Microsoft for ‘cascade’ of errors that allowed Chinese hackers to breach senior US officials’ emails — via CNN
  • Microsoft, Quantinuum claim breakthrough in quantum computing — via Reuters
  • AI security is a new battle between employers and workers, survey shows — via Axios
  • Zoom and Salesforce stand to benefit from Microsoft’s unbundling of Teams and Office — via CNBC



And that's a wrap! Don't forget to share this newsletter with your family and friends! See y'all next week. PEACE! ☮️


— Sheharyar Khan, Editor, Business Tech @ HackerNoon


*All rankings are current as of Monday. To see how the rankings have changed, please visit HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings page.