As onlookers attempt to make sense of the ongoing, mind-boggling collapse of crypto exchange FTX, details have begun to surface concerning the unorthodox internal practices and beliefs of the once-dominant company’s leadership.
Of particular note is former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s on-again, off-again former girlfriend, and a bizzare Tumblr blog that she appears to have maintained for years.
Until this week, Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX’s founder and CEO, lived with nine other colleagues in a $30 million penthouse in The Bahamas. Most high-level decisions pertaining to the operation of $32 billion exchange FTX and its sister trading firm Alameda Research were made by these 10 roommates, according to Coindesk, who were at one time reportedly romantically or sexually involved with one another.
The group was characterized as a “polycule”—a romantic network of multiple people typically linked by overlapping sexual relationships.
Alameda, a trading entity ostensibly distinct from FTX, reportedly siphoned billions of dollars from FTX customer accounts without users’ knowledge. On Monday, a report revealed the firm may have routinely engaged in the prohibited practice of frontrunning by making investment decisions based on insider knowledge of upcoming token launches on FTX’s trading platform.
Now, details from a blog linked to Ellison have begun to shed light on the former Alameda CEO’s personal beliefs and world philosophy—one shaped by hardline views on polyamory and sexual competition, a fascination with race science, and a belief in the natural synergy between crypto and fraud.
The Tumblr account, active from 2014 until its deletion Sunday, went by the name of “Fake Charity Nerd Girl” and the handle “worldoptimization.” The personal details revealed by the account’s author over its eight years of activity—including educational history, professional history, and living history—match up perfectly with Ellison’s biography. Further, when the account’s author announced they opened a Twitter account in March 2021, they linked to Ellison’s Twitter page, which was created the same month.
Decrypt reached out to Ellison to confirm the account’s authorship, but did not immediately receive a response.
The Ellison-linked Tumblr account sheds some light on the sexual dynamics that were potentially at play in FTX’s live-in headquarters.
“When I first started my first foray into poly, I thought of it as a radical break from my trad past,” the account wrote in February 2020, two years into Ellison’s stint at Alameda Research. “But tbh, I’ve come to decide the only acceptable style of poly is best characterized as something like ‘imperial Chinese harem.’”
The account went on to detail how a polyamorous dynamic should ideally function as a cutthroat market of sexual competition and subjugation.
“None of this non-hierarchical bullshit,” the account elaborated. “Everyone should have a ranking of their partners, people should know where they fall on the ranking, and there should be vicious power struggles for the ranks.”
Caroline also confirmed that FTX was a poly relationship. Yes, the orgies were real. pic.twitter.com/pewxtREf7j
— honky 🌐 (@0xHonky) November 13, 2022
The account’s author consistently displayed a fascination with sex and power dynamics. In another post, the author said that two key qualities of a “cute boy” are “controlling most major world governments” and possessing “sufficient strength to physically overpower you.”
The Ellison-linked account also demonstrated a substantial preoccupation with “hbd” or “human biodiversity,” an online euphemism for the discredited fields of race science and eugenics popularized by the alt-right.
Ellison has, for years, vocalized her die-hard obsession with Harry Potter. In one post, her affiliated Tumblr account tied her love of online character quizzes to her penchant for sorting Indians by their caste, which she presumed to indicate genetic distinction.
“I feel like part of me that is interested in HBD is the same part of me that loves personality types and ‘which character are you’ quizzes,” the account wrote. “There’s a stereotype of racist people that they will assume any East Asian person speaks Chinese or something. I appreciate that HBD people are the exact opposite of that, and will make fun of you for saying something about ‘Indians’ without specifying province and caste because come on, the genetic differences there are massive.”
this is caroline ellison's tumblr - the alameda ceo. we love to see a jewish kween stan indian race science. pic.twitter.com/axPNgDJ4Fs
— nikhilesh guruprasad (@excedrinenjoyer) November 13, 2022
The post did include a content warning that read “offensive, sorry,” along with the hashtag “#racism.”
Indian caste—a socially-engineered and arbitrary sorting of India’s population accelerated during Britain’s brutal colonization of India—has long been falsely equated with race and genetics over the history of white supremacy. Caste in India was heavily correlated with skin color, particularly under the British. The Nazis believed Aryans to have once been the lightest-skinned of all Indians. In 1939, Hitler sent an expedition of Nazis to investigate the Himalayan site of ancient Indus Valley civilizations as the origin of the Aryan race.
Ellison’s affiliated Tumblr account similarly appeared fascinated with the place of Indus Valley civilizations in the history of alleged genetic distinctions among Indians. The author wrote ample book reviews on the subject.
But perhaps of most direct relevance to last week’s events were posts by the account shedding light on its author’s impressions of the crypto space.
“I didn’t get into this as a crypto true believer,” the Ellison-linked account wrote in March. “It’s mostly scams and memes when you get down to it.”