Who is Caroline Eddison, the woman behind the FTX crash

Sam Bankman-Fried is said to have routed FTX client funds to Alameda Research. US securities regulators are now investigating. Caroline Ellison was the CEO of Alameda.

Caroline Ellison was the CEO of the trading firm Alameda Research, founded by FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried in 2018.

According to media reports, Ellison lived with ten people from the FTX and Alameda team in a house in the Bahamas like an “imperial harem” and maintained an on-and-off relationship with Bankman-Fried.

Since the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX, Ellison has been at the center of investigative research and apparently wants to avoid attention. So she deletes her online profiles.

With the rapid collapse of crypto exchange FTX, many secrets about its founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and his crypto empire are coming to light. Bankman-Fried is said to have forwarded FTX client funds to the trading firm Alameda Research, which he founded in 2018. At the center of the unfolding financial scandal is Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, who made FTX’s sham success possible and helped cause its spectacular crash.

Ellison, who has maintained a number of profiles on platforms including Linkedin, Twitter and Tumblr, has been trying to take her dates offline since the Sam Bankman-Fried revelations. Ellison deleted her Linkedin account, including photos and all contact information. Perhaps because more and more journalists are trying to collect information about the shadowy figure of the financial scandal and are overwhelmed with inquiries.

But who is the woman who now plays a central role in the FTX thriller? Ellison, who only became CEO of Alameda Research in August of this year, studied mathematics at the US elite university Stanford. Former teachers describe her as extremely smart and highly educated, a genius in mathematics. In her free time she liked to read, was a bookworm and a Harry Potter fan. On her Tumblr profile, Ellison wrote about gender roles, culture and society. We have compiled for you here what can be deduced from her entries on her Tumblr blog and what the controversial CEO of Alameda has revealed in interviews over the past few years.

read too

The new FTX CEO on the crypto exchange balance sheets: Company funds were used for luxury and houses in the Bahamas

What we know about Caroline Ellison

Born in 1994, Caroline Ellison grew up in the Boston suburbs. Both her father and mother are academics. Ellison’s mother is an associate professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and her father, Glenn Ellison, is the head of economics at MIT. Curiously, Gary Gensler, now chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged with investigating FTX and Alameda, was her father’s interim boss.

In a conversation with the US medium “Forbes”, Ellison revealed about her childhood that she came into contact with economics a lot at an early age. Ellison is said to have written a research paper at the age of eight and given it to her father, in which she analyzed the prices of stuffed animals at Toys ‘R’ Us. And apparently it wasn’t just a gimmick: At her high school, Newton North High School, Ellison was certified as a mathematical gifted person. She then took part in the Math Prize for Girls, one of the largest mathematics competitions in the world. In 2012 she began studying math at Stanford University. Ruth Ackerman, one of her faculty members, retrospectively characterizes Ellison as a “smart, focused, very mathematical person”.

read too

The rise and fall of crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, who lost almost his entire fortune in a single day

Like her later colleague and FTX founder Bankman-Fried, Ellison was introduced to effective altruism during her university days and became a member of Stanford’s Effective Altruism Club. Effective altruism is a philosophical movement that tries to use limited resources such as time and money to improve the lives of as many people as possible through cost-benefit calculations.

After graduating, Ellison worked for the trading firm Jane Street. There she met Sam Bankman-Fried. The two are said to have hit it off right away. Their shared interest in effective altruism is said to have played an important role in this. When Bankman-Fried founded cryptocurrency trading firm Alameda Research in 2018, he convinced Ellison to work with him. About her first impression of the trading company, Ellison told Forbes: “We had no idea what we were doing.”

Rise to Alameda CEO

In addition to Ellison, the Alameda Research team included Bankman-Fried’s very good friends Nishad Singh, Gary Wang and Sam Trabucco. Ellison was the only woman on the team that relocated from Berkeley to Hong Kong in 2018. The Alameda managers led a student life and traded cryptocurrencies: while the men played video games, Ellison watched the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. When Bankman-Fried founded the crypto exchange FTX in 2019, Ellison took on more responsibility at Alameda Research. In 2022, Ellison was on the Forbes 30 under 30 list with her co-CEO Sam Trabucco. In August, Trabucco resigned as CEO and Ellison was installed as sole CEO at Alameda.

Despite Bankman-Fried’s success, Ellison shunned the public eye. FTX employees told Forbes that Ellison liked to stay behind the scenes. Nevertheless, the Alameda CEO maintained her presence on social media: In addition to her Twitter profile with the username “@carolinecapital”, the celebrity blog “Gawker” reported on two Tumblr profiles: “worldoptimizatoin” and “worldoptimization-lifeadvice”, which provide an insight into Ellison’s private life.

read too

Opinion Solveig Rathenow FTX

That is why the spectacular crash of FTX is an opportunity for the German crypto scene

Ellision shared book reviews on her Tumblr, so it’s clear that she’s a die-hard Harry Potter fan. The last books she reviewed were Naomi Novik’s The Golden Enclaves and Ned Beuman’s Venomous Lumpsucker. In addition, Ellison apparently read the Substack newsletter by Matthew Yglesias, who writes about politics and economics. Ellison’s favorite color is gray and her most interesting celebrity encounter was with the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia had lived in the same house where the Ellison family later resided.

“As in the Imperial Harem”

On her Tumblr profile, Ellison also opened up about her departure from traditional beliefs about relationships and gender roles. Over time, Ellison has become increasingly “agnostic about society and culture,” she wrote on the blog.

Crypto news outlet CoinDesk, citing anonymous sources, reports that Ellison was part of the FTX and Alameda team who lived together in the Bahamas. Each of the ten people in the house are said to have been involved in relationships with other team members. Even with Bankman-Fried, Ellison is said to have been in an on-and-off relationship. Ellison himself once compared living in the house to “an imperial harem in China”. Ellison even reportedly shared a therapist named George Lerner with other team members.

Since investigating the FTX scandal, Ellison has stopped sharing intimate details on her social media profiles. The manager has gone into hiding. Ellison has reduced her online presence and deleted her LinkedIn profile. https://twitter.com/carolinecapital/status/1589264375042707458 as of November 6, Ellison was still defending Alameda’s accounts. It is unknown where she is currently or what Ellison plans to do after the FTX bankruptcy.

This article was translated from English by Amin Al Magrebi. You can find the original here.

The article is in German

Tags: Caroline Eddison woman FTX crash