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Sam Bankman-Fried seen leaving a Manhattan Federal Court earlier this year.

Barry Williams/New York Daily News/TNS/ABACAPRESS.COM via Reuters

Hard Numbers: FTX’s 'altruistic' donations, Government-funded AI, Microsoft’s payoff, Chip wars, Anthropic cash infusion

$6.5 million: The disgraced cryptocurrency firm FTX, whose founder is on trial for a litany of fraud charges, is trying to claw back as much money as it can to pay off investors, lenders, and customers. Founder Sam Bankman-Fried, a devotee of effective altruism — a kind of philosophical commitment to philanthropy — gave $6.5 million last year to the Center for AI Safety, a US-based nonprofit. Now, FTX’s bankruptcy-era leadership is looking at whether they can get the money back.

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The Graphic Truth: Crypto's annus horribilis

Crypto bros can't wait for 2022 to be over. The year kicked off with cryptocurrencies riding the wave of the global post-pandemic economic boom. But then Russia's war in Ukraine upended global markets and worsening inflation prompted central banks to start hiking rates, which slashed investors' appetite for risk. What's more, a string of scandals — mainly the collapses of the TerraUSD stable coin and the FTX crypto exchange — undermined overall trust in crypto, leading to the worst annual performance in the industry's history. We track how Bitcoin and Ethereum, which together accounts for more than half of global crypto transactions, have traded since the beginning of the year.

Sam Bankman-Fried, who founded and led FTX, arrested in the Bahamas.

Reuters

Hard Numbers: SBF’s illegal foray into politics, Meta’s role in Ethiopia’s war, more bad news for Trump, Kosovo’s EU long shot

40 million: The now-disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, known as SBF, pumped around $40 million into the recent US election cycle, most of which went to Democratic-aligned super-PACS. Federal prosecutors say SBF illegally siphoned these funds from his crypto hedge fund.

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Biden's Africa Summit won't gain influence for US without investment
Biden's Africa Summit Won't Gain Influence for US Without Investment | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Biden's Africa Summit won't gain influence for US without investment

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

What does Biden hope to achieve from his Africa summit?

Dozens of African leaders in Washington DC, potentially the most stillborn summit the Americans have hosted since the Summit of the Americas, Latin America, in LA months ago, because the United States doesn't have much of a strategy. Certainly want to have more influence given how much the Chinese have been economically locking up so much of the political orientation of these countries. But that means money, and the Americans, this is at the end of the day not the top priority, not even close for the United States, given GDP and given role in the world. So I suspect it's going to be a lot of happy talk. There'll be some political alignment, but it's not going to be a lot of influence.

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FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried attends a press conference at the FTX Arena in downtown Miami.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Bankman-Fried in cuffs, China after "zero," Peru's next vote, Japan's proposed tax hike

FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried in cuffs

Sam Bankman-Fried, the shaggy-haired founder of FTX known colloquially as SBF, was arrested Monday night at his apartment in the Bahamas. FTX, the once booming crypto exchange, imploded last month after investors grew worried about the firm’s financial standing, leading to massive withdrawals. Unable to pay customers out, SBF had been funneling investors’ funds to a crypto hedge fund, while Bankman-Fried had also used billions of dollars to fund risky wagers. SBF, who ultimately declared bankruptcy last month, has recently been compared to infamous con artists like Bernie Madoff. On Tuesday, US federal prosecutors are set to release the indictment, which includes a host of financial crimes, including wire fraud and money laundering. What’s more, SBF’s arrest came the night before he was due to testify to the US Congress about the collapse of his $32 billion empire. It's unclear whether the former crypto whiz will fight extradition efforts.

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A police officer blocks the street after an explosion on busy pedestrian Istiklal street in Istanbul, Turkey.

Reuters

Hard Numbers: Istanbul’s explosion, FTX’s downfall, Ukraine’s win in Kherson, Terminal 2F’s farewell

6: At least 6 people were killed and dozens were wounded on Sunday when an explosion rocked a busy district in central Istanbul, Turkey. The cause remains unknown, but the same location was the target of a 2016 suicide attack carried out by an Islamic State affiliate.

900 million: FTX, the major crypto exchange that filed for bankruptcy and is being investigated for potential financial crimes, held just $900 million in saleable assets against a whopping $9 billion of liabilities. Headed by crypto megastar Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX has been accused of unethical business practices. Meanwhile, its downfall has sent crypto and stock markets into a tailspin.

8: For eight months, residents of Kherson – the only provincial capital held by the Russians – were living under the Kremlin’s control, but the province is now firmly in Ukrainian hands after an embarrassing Russian retreat wrapped up over the weekend. Still, Ukrainian authorities have much work to do to restore electricity, water access, and medical supplies in the province.

18: Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee who made Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport his home for 18 years, died at the airport’s Terminal 2F on Saturday. Nasseri, whose story inspired the film "The Terminal" starring Tom Hanks, was granted refugee status in France and lived at a hostel for a period but recently returned to the airport where he died.

Logos of FTX and Binance, crypto exchange competitors.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Crypto chaos, China-El Salvador trade, inflation across the Atlantic, Biden-Xi meeting

Is this crypto’s Lehman moment?

The crypto market’s bad run got even worse this week after FTX, a major crypto exchange, imploded. Headed by billionaire crypto-star Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX was revealed to be in a dire financial position earlier this week, and Binance, the largest exchange and an FTX competitor, considered bailing FTX out, but dropped the idea at the eleventh hour when it became clear FTX was insolvent and its customers couldn’t withdraw assets. Federal investigators are now looking at Bankman-Fried to find out whether his company violated financial regulations. Not only did Bankman-Fried lose more than 90% of his $16 billion fortune in mere days, but the news also sent the broader crypto and stock markets into a tailspin. Bankman-Fried, a big Democratic donor, had been making inroads in recent months with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to shape regulation with favorable terms for the crypto industry. But lawmakers and other crypto lobbyists will now want to distance themselves from the crypto king facing serious allegations of financial impropriety.

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