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Tesla CEO and Twitter chief Elon Musk clarified that Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, does not hold any stake in Twitter. This followed a story by a Bankman-Fried-backed publication suggesting Musk took $100 million from the former FTX executive.

Elon Musk on SBF’s Alleged Twitter Investment

Elon Musk clarified that Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), co-founder and former CEO of FTX, currently owns 0% of Twitter.

The confirmation follows a Wednesday report by Bankman-Fried-backed publication Semafor that said SBF has a $100 million stake in the social media platform. The article claimed to have obtained a private text message between Musk and Bankman-Fried as proof of the stake.

Semafor debuted on October 18, just weeks before FTX the collapse has begun. The crypto exchange filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on November 11 and SBF stepped down as CEO.

Musk tweeted Wednesday: “Semafor is owned by SBF. It’s a huge conflict of interest in your reports. Responding to a publication editor insisting he had taken money from SBF, Musk tweeted:

As I said, neither I nor Twitter took any investment from SBF/FTX. Your article is a lie.

The publisher of the SBF-backed publication tweeted the text message in question on Thursday. In the text message, Bankman-Fried claimed to have over $100 million in Twitter stock (TWTR) that he would like to “roll over” if possible. Musk responded with a standard response he gave to all Twitter shareholders. “You are welcome to ride,” he wrote. However, the text message does not confirm whether the transaction took place.

The Semafor reporter took the text message as confirmation that Bankman-Fried definitely owns a $100 million stake in Twitter, and did so when Musk bought the social media company at the end of October and took it private.

Musk responded by clarifying that all public shareholders of the social media company were permitted to transfer their shares to Twitter as a private company. However, the Tesla boss noted that Bankman-Fried didn’t roll anything, so he has no stake in Twitter. “Your reporting gave the false impression that he did.”

The article also claimed that Musk texted Bankman-Fried and “invited him to roll the $100 million stake.” However, it appears from the text that it was SBF who texted Musk and that the Tesla CEO didn’t even know who the text was from.

Many people on Twitter agreed with Musk that the text message does not prove that SBF actually transferred shares to Twitter, the private company. One user described:

Looks like he [Elon Musk] didn’t really know who he was talking to and simply gave the same answer he had given publicly – that large shareholders could transfer their shares to the new company. Musk also denied it actually happened.

Twitter users have also attacked the SBF-backed publication for its conflict of interest. “It’s extremely crazy how they will attack ANYONE near SBF, but then leave it untouched or barely scratched with light reviews that you have to re-read 3-4 times before it feels like a review” , underlined one of them. Another user asked, “How much money did Semafor take from SBF and what did this financial deal entail? That seems significant.

What do you think of the SBF-backed publication claiming that Bankman-Fried gave Elon Musk $100 million, even though Musk has repeatedly said he didn’t? Let us know in the comments section below.

Kevin Helms

An economics student from Austria, Kevin discovered Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests include Bitcoin security, open source systems, network effects, and the intersection between economics and cryptography.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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