Reminder: Larry David Predicted the FTX Crash
The world of cryptocurrency has been completely upended after the shocking collapse of FTX, a Bahamas-based company which was the world’s third largest crypto exchange before it plunged into bankruptcy this past Friday amid speculation of embezzlement and fraud on behalf of its CEO and founder, Sam Bankman-Fried. Those who have been critical of the volatility of the crypto world and the arrogance of its most terminally online blockchain evangelists are now enjoying some delectable schadenfreude courtesy of an unlikely Nostradamus – Larry David.
FTX aired an ad during last year’s Super Bowl that featured the Seinfeld co-creator playing various historical naysayers as he shot down mankind’s greatest technical achievements. Almost 100 million viewers watched a doubtful David reject the wheel, the fork, the indoor toilet and the moon landing in a colorful array of period-appropriate outfits before the modern day star of Curb rejected a suggestion to use the FTX app to invest in crypto currency. The hilariously hubristic message “Don’t Be Like Larry” then flashes across the screen, which should have been followed by the Curb theme song and the “Directed By Robert B. Weide” credit.
In the span of just one week, FTX went from a $32 billion company at the front of the pack of the crypto market to a bankrupt and embattled business with a yet-to-be-accounted-for $8 billion shortfall after a run on deposits exposed the instability of the platform and sparked an industry-wide panic.
Investors were sold on crypto schemes by the simplistic and fantastical messaging found in promotions such as FTX’s Super Bowl commercial which promised that anyone who dumped their real-world money into the volatile crypto market was getting in on the ground floor of the future of the economy. Now, the smug crypto bros and disingenuous influencers who had been spreading fairytales of limitless returns to their gullible followers are being forced to face the reality that even the most respected and ostensibly stable crypto companies could simply be a house of cards. If only an Emmy-winning comedy icon had warned them about it during the most-watched event of the year, then maybe they wouldn't have lost all their money on ChungusCoin.
The FTX Super Bowl commercial has been getting mass-posted on crypto Twitter and in crypto-focused Discord servers since the warning signs about FTX’s future first appeared on November 6, when the company’s most vocal critic, Changpeng Zhao, a former investor in FTX, announced that he was selling all of his FTT, FTX’s flagship cryptocurrency. The sell-off that ensued resulted in the company’s collapse, and angry investors are now demanding an investigation into the relationship between FTX and Alameda Research, an investment firm founded by Bankman-Fried which had borrowed significant funds from FTX.
Six months ago, YouTuber Coffeezilla released the above video breaking down an interview with Bankman-Fried in which the FTX CEO basically described his company’s entire business model as one big Ponzi scheme. With investors now searching for that mysteriously absent $8 billion, this video is making the rounds next to David’s deliciously ironic FTX commercial, and the curmudgeonly comedian’s message of “I’m never wrong about this stuff” feels prudent and prescient.
Maybe we have to rethink this whole “wheel” thing after all = back to the mattress we go with our shekels.