TechScape: Crypto in the dock, Musk in the frame and fiendish puzzles – three chilling tech tales for Halloween

  • October 31, 2023
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Gather round and hear three of the latest scary stories from Silicon Valley and beyond that will frighten you long after the candy is eaten

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The nights are drawing in, the carved pumpkins are in windows and the neighbourhood children are preparing to cause trouble, so here’s three tales of tech terror – ones that will resonate long after the candy is gone.

Bankman-Fried’s decision to testify in his own defense is a risky one, as it will allow prosecutors the chance to cross-examine him. He has so far remained silent through a three-week trial as former members of his inner circle testified that he directed them to commit crimes, including diverting customer funds from FTX to his hedge fund, Alameda Research, and that he lied to investors and lenders.

He was asked in November 2022 during his first interview after the exchange evaporated: “Are your lawyers suggesting it’s a good idea for you to be speaking?” Bankman-Fried answered: “No, they are very much not … I have a duty to talk; I have a duty to explain what happened.”

“I made a number of small mistakes and a number of large mistakes,” Bankman-Fried, 31, said in sharing his version of the rise and fall of crypto trading platform FTX. The biggest mistake, he said, was not implementing a dedicated risk management team. “There were significant oversights,” he said. His testimony also suggested that he will attempt to clarify the encryption and data-retention practices at FTX, and explain away seemingly spurious movements of money.

The banks that financed Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter are still struggling a year later to contain the damage to their balance sheets.

The banks currently expect to take a hit of at least 15%, or roughly $2 billion, when they sell the debt, people familiar with the matter said … Bankers close to the deal say that Musk’s capricious management and a weakening advertising market could point to a junk-bond rating, a designation reserved for companies at higher risk of defaulting.

Games must never trick you out of your time. You should never wonder “what am I even doing with my life?” when you play a game. Good games are a collaborator to you in the pursuit of fun. Good games inspire curiosity.

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