Long before FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was accused of facilitating a massive crypto fraud and in the crosshairs of regulators, he was a nerdy kid from a well-to-do family in Northern California, raised in the upper echelons of academia.
Bankman-Fried attended a top Silicon Valley prep school where his senior class’s prank included making $100 bills with his face on them called “Bankmans,” Puck reported.
Raised by two former Stanford Law professors, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, the dethroned crypto exec attended Crystal Springs Uplands, the Hillsborough prep school.
The middle school and high school have a $56,620 annual tuition, according to its website, with alumni including Patty Hearst, the American publishing heiress, along with chess grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky, per the school’s student-run newspaper The Gryphon Gazette.
Bankman-Fried and his younger brother Gabe “grew up immersed in a rotating circus of Stanford faculty members,” according to Puck’s report. Gabe was known as the more “socially adept” of the two.
The former crypto billionaire’s mother wrote in her recent book: “When Sam was about fourteen, he emerged from his bedroom one evening and said to me, seemingly out of the blue, “What kind of person dismisses an argument they disagree with by labeling it ‘the Repugnant Conclusion’?” Clearly, things were not as I, in my impoverished imagination, had assumed them to be in our household.”
Elsewhere, one of Joseph Bankman’s more notable law students was Paypal cofounder and billionaire Peter Thiel, who described Bankman’s tax law course as “his most valuable because he was able to put a lot of his Facebook stock in an IRA,” Bankman later recalled. Thiel later turned his Roth IRA, a retirement account typically for the middle class, into a gargantuan $5 billion tax-exempt piggy bank, ProPublica reported.