Home Crypto News Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried trades fish to pay for prison services without access to crypto

Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried trades fish to pay for prison services without access to crypto

by Michael Stark

**Former Crypto Billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried is Using Mackerel as Prison Currency**

***Swapping Mackerel for Services***

Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of the crypto exchange FTX, has found himself using a rather unexpected form of currency while at New York’s Metropolitan Detention Center. The once-wealthy trader is currently awaiting sentencing on seven felony counts, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

**Transition to Prison Economy**

It didn’t take long for Bankman-Fried to adapt to the prison economy, quickly realizing that mackerel is the currency of choice among inmates. The Wall Street Journal reported that he recently used packaged mackerel to pay for a haircut, a noteworthy indication of the evolving economic system within the correctional facility.

The use of mackerel as currency is not a novel concept. The Journal reported that the canned fish has been popular as a commodity within US federal prisons since 2004, following the banning of cigarettes. The trend gained traction, with inmates using mackerel to substitute for traditional currency in their day-to-day transactions.

**Uses of Mackerel as Currency**

The use of mackerel as currency has continued to gain prominence within the prison system. Formerly incarcerated attorney Larry Levine accepted mackerel as payment from fellow prisoners he represented back when he served time at the Lompoc correctional institution in California. His use of mackerel extended to paying for various personal services provided by inmates, such as beard trims and shoeshines.

**Economic Rationale Behind Mackerel Currency**

There is sound economic reasoning behind the adoption of mackerel as a form of currency. Products with steady value, such as specific food items and stamps, serve as a stable means of exchange to compensate for the absence of traditional currency within prison confines.

Bankman-Fried, who faces a maximum sentence of 110 years for the fraud charges brought against him, is set to stand trial for additional counts related to political bribery. His dynamic adaptation to the prison economy reflects his ability to navigate various financial landscapes, even within the confines of a correctional institution.


As Bankman-Fried awaits his impending sentencing, his innovative approach to adapting to the prison economy clearly reflects his financial acumen and adaptable nature. In the face of an upcoming trial and the potential for a significant prison sentence, the former crypto billionaire continues to exhibit his ability to make the best of his current circumstances, using mackerel as a tool for various transactions and services within the prison system.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

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