'Holy s**t, the company is probably broke': Former FTX employee reveals the ... trends now
A former software engineer who worked at cryptocurrency exchange FTX's sister trading firm, Alameda Research, has told of the moment he realized it was about to go collapse, after a company credit card used to order takeout wouldn't go through.
It was November last year when Aditya Baradwaj was working in the firm's Hong Kong offices awaiting news of FTX's fate after the $32 billion company filed for bankruptcy.
Workers at the firm had long been showered with extravagant perks thanks to 31-year-old FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
As colleagues waited anxiously for news of what was happening, on November 9, 2022, the group decided to order food - but to their shock the card was declined.
It signaled the beginning of the end for the troubled trading company.
Aditya Baradwaj, a, former software engineer working at a trading firm associated with FTX realized the company was on the brink of collapse when they couldn't order food using a company credit card
At a meeting held by Caroline Ellison, 28, the CEO of Alameda Research and SBF's ex-girlfriend, she confirmed how Bankman-Fried had allowed Alameda to use FTX user's deposits
'We ordered our lunch in the afternoon, same as usual. When we went to order our food in the evening, the app says "credit card declined." That's the moment where we realized, holy s**t, the company is probably broke,' Baradwaj told the New York Post.
'We were afraid. This thing was making international news. My friends and family were calling me, I'm getting all these calls. I'm sitting in a hotel in Hong Kong, and I don't want to get thrown in Chinese jail.'
Just how desperate the situation had become was made shockingly clear when Caroline Ellison, CEO of Alameda Research and Bankman-Fried's ex-girlfriend held a company-wide meeting.
Some workers joined via video link while others sat on bean bags in the office as Ellison broke down in tears.
'I guess, mostly I wanna say, like, I'm sorry. This really sucks,' Baradwaj recalls 28-year-old Ellison as she cried.
Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to charges that he siphoned company funds to make lavish real estate purchases, splash out political donations, and prop up his hedge fund
'In my mind, there was one central event, which is Caroline's confession,' Baradwaj said
Baradwaj said that Caroline Ellison, 28, the CEO of Alameda Research, had been a good boss and 'seemed like a kind person'
'I think my current default plan is that Alameda will likely wind down once we can, like, repay all of our creditors and sort of wind down a bunch of our, like, whatever remaining obligations we have,' Ellison explained to the gathered workers.
'Who made the decision on using [FTX] user deposits?' one Alameda employee asked Ellison.
'Um…Sam, I guess,' she responded.
Ellison's conversation with the employees is likely to play a pivotal role in the upcoming federal trial that sees Bankman-Fried facing charges of allegedly embezzling billions of dollars in customer funds.
'After that meeting, we all left the office, and we never spoke to Caroline after that,' Baradwaj said. 'Caroline even attempted to strike up a conversation with someone, and she was ignored. No one wanted to engage with her.'
'He's definitely guilty. We know he's guilty because Caroline basically admitted it, and this was back in