Sam Bankman-Fried Paid for His Haircut with Fish

Disgraced former crypto luminary Sam Bankman-Fried is trading new currency in prison. But it isn’t crypto, it’s mackerel, or macks, for short. According to a Wall Street Journal story that reported on his life in prison, this was what he used to pay for his haircut, which he got from a fellow inmate. 

Macks, in the form of preserved filets that go for $1.30 a pouch, have become the currency of choice since smoking cigarettes were banned from the prison. Bankman-Fried has been learning to use the currency since his bail was revoked in August after a federal judge found probable cause that he tried to intimidate witnesses.

He was found guilty of two counts of wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, one count of securities fraud, one count of commodities fraud conspiracy, and one count of money laundering conspiracy early this month — almost a year after the spectacular crash of FTX, his crypto exchange. 

Bankman-Fried is facing up to 115 years of jail time and is set to receive his sentence on March 28. His most recent attempt for release was denied by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Wednesday, meaning he’ll have to stay and trade more macks as his lawyers appeal his case.

“Sam’s doing the best he can under the circumstances,” Mark Botnick, Bankman-Fried’s spokesperson, told the WSJ.

Bankman-Fried is currently at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center and is sharing a dormitory with former Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández and the recently convicted former Mexican secretary of public security Genaro García Luna — both in detention for drug-related charges. 

Prison consultant Bill Baroni told the WSJ that Bankman-Fried’s “life will get better” after he’s sentenced. Moving to a federal prison to serve his sentence would likely mean more freedom of movement, as well as better access to educational programming and recreation, Baroni said. “He’ll be out of the facility with the most violent people.”

White-collar criminals typically serve out their sentences in minimum security facilities that offer better programming for the inmates. But the bar for “better” against Bankman-Fried’s current living situation is set pretty low. 

Related: Elizabeth Holmes Begins Serving 11-Year Sentence At Texas Prison

The detention center he’s currently in is known for its poor conditions and understaffed guards. Bankman-Fried is still lucky enough that the jail has agreed to make arrangements to accommodate his diet. One of his lawyers pointed out that Bankman-Fried, who’s vegan and does not eat macks, initially had to subsist on peanut butter and bread. He also had difficulty getting the proper dose of Adderall, the medication he takes for ADHD.


Information for this story was found via the Wall Street Journal, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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