H'wood FTX Frenzy as Michael Lewis Reveals He Spent 6 Months with Founder
Author compares Sam Bankman-Fried, Binance's CZ to 'Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader' in email sent by CAA
In this issue:
The full CAA email reveals Michael Lewis’ next book is about Sam Bankman-Fried with at least one plot point focusing on the rivalry with Binance’s Changpeng Zhao
The role of former CAA agent (and Elon Musk pal) Michael Kives with Bankman-Fried
With the stunning collapse of crypto exchange FTX still rippling through the financial markets, the entertainment industry sprang into action over the weekend with a far more pressing concern: Who’s going to nab the rights to this story?
We now know at least one part of how this plays out. The town was abuzz Saturday after an email spread that revealed that Michael Lewis — the most talented and successful non-fiction writer working today — had embedded with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried for the past six months and was making the collapsing cryptocurrency exchange the centerpiece of his next book. The Ankler obtained the email from CAA agent Matthew Snyder, originally sent to potential buyers on Friday (CAA did not immediately return a request for comment). The email reveals that not a word of the book has been written yet but, well, things just can’t wait:
The email from Snyder:
“I really don’t want to reveal exactly what I’m writing about,” he said “But I found a character through whom I can write about — it weirdly links up Flash Boys, The Big Short and Liar’s Poker.
“I guess it is possible it will be framed as a crypto book, but it won’t be a crypto book. It’ll be about this really unusual character. You’ll learn all about crypto and you’ll learn about what screwed up market structure in the United States and so on.”
For those keeping score, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, had agreed to take over FTX, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, at the start of last week after FTX was unable to process customer withdrawals amid panic about both the crypto markets and Bankman-Fried’s reported co-mingling of assets between FTX and his hedge fund. In a shocking twist, Binance backed out of the deal citing “corporate due diligence” setting the stage for FTX’s bankruptcy filing and Bankman-Fried’s resignation as CEO.
FTX had a one-time valuation of $32 billion and substantial ties to the entertainment industry. Then-spouses Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen, as well as Larry David, memorably starred in much-ridiculed spots hawking the company. Steph Curry and Naomi Osaka likewise were paid endorsers.
Industry insiders likewise also have been speculating about the impact of FTX bankruptcy on one of their own: former CAA agent Michael Kives.