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FTX crash the movie: Michael Lewis casts SBF, Binance chief CZ as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader

By Darius McQuaid

Edited by Charlie Mellor

15:27, 15 November 2022

Sam Bankman-Fried speaks during the first annual Moonlight Gala in June 2022
Michael Lewis describes Sam Bankman-Fried as a “really unusual character” – Photo: Getty Images

Michael Lewis, the author of the The Big Short, Flash Boys and Liar’s Poker, has spent the past six months with Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of the now bankrupt cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX.

Lewis intends to write a book about Bankman-Fried and FTX, but has not yet started it.

The Ankler, Hollywood’s insider newsletter, reported that a letter from agent Matthew Snyder from Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the US talent and sports agency based in Los Angeles, was sent to potential buyers of the film rights for the book.

Attempting to sell the idea of the book to film producers, Snyder described what Lewis had learned from his time with the former FTX CEO.

Snyder said: “His [Bankman-Fried] childhood, early success on Wall Street, embrace of effective altruism and the creation of a crypto empire that catapulted him in record time into the ranks of the richest people in the world seemed more than sufficient for a signature Michael Lewis book.”

The events leading up to FTX filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy have “provided a dramatic surprise ending to the story”, said Snyder, adding that it will also highlight “the rivalry between Bankman-Fried and Binance head Changpeng Zhao”.

According to the Snyder email, Lewis “likens them to the Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader of crypto” from the Star Wars film franchise.


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Links up three of Lewis’ books

In August 2022, Lewis told Financial News that he did not want to reveal who he was going to write about, but he had “found a character through whom I can write about – it weirdly links up Flash Boys, The Big Short and Liar’s Poker.”

It now turns out the “character” Lewis must have been referring to was Bankman-Fried. Lewis added:

“I guess it is possible it will be framed as a crypto book, but it won’t be a crypto book. It’ll be about this really unusual character. You’ll learn all about crypto and you’ll learn about what screwed up market structure in the United States and so on.”

In July 2022, Lewis interviewed Bankman-Fried on stage in the Bahamas, where FTX is headquartered, at Crypto Bahamas conference organised by FTX.

Lewis – who was also listed as a conference speaker – reportedly told the former FTX CEO at the time: “There’s a status upheaval in the financial world, and you’re sitting right in the middle of it.”

Prominent speakers at the event also included former UK prime minister Tony Blair, former US president Bill Clinton and Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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