A former FTX employee has given information about the exchange’s excessive spending and hostile corporate culture.
A former employee of crypto exchange FTX seems to have disclosed the business’s exorbitant luxury spending, obsessive workplace culture, and rigorous work hours, which led to the employment of a corporate psychiatrist a year before its collapse.
Danielle Cloud, a former FTX employee claiming to work in the marketing department, released a series of Tweets on Dec. 13 stating that FTX hired her in October 2021 and that she quit around two weeks later.
“Something didn’t feel right. “Cult-like,” Cloud wrote, expressing her first reaction to the trade and comparing it to fraudulent companies like the luxury music event Fyre Festival and health technology startup Theranos.
She said she’d “never heard of” FTX or its creator Sam Bankman-Fried, but that “everyone at FTX was enamored” with him.
“I guess that made sense. Who was I to oppose that?” “The child was young, the ideals were revolutionary, the thoughts were brilliant who was I to dispute that?”
Cloud stated the “best approach” to acquire a place at FTX was to “be the female spouse of an established employee” who could supposedly within “a month or two” work their way into an executive position.
“Those who dared to question it were churned,” she alleged.
Working from home was also a “joke,” according to Cloud. “The work week was Monday to Sunday,” she said, adding that a colleague was “chewed out” for inquiring for Thanksgiving leave.
Cloud began as a Know Your Customer (KYC) analyst at FTX US, the company’s US branch, and was elevated to a full-time marketing post in May 2022, requiring her to “work out of the Bahamas the bulk of the time.”
“The whole system was iconically and moronically inefficient,” Cloud said of the exchange’s headquarters in the Bahamas, adding, “I never realized what money could buy.”
She alleged that FTX bought or leased multimillion-dollar mansions for its executives, who hosted expensive house parties and had special chefs.
Employees were given “expensive stays in premium hotels,” as well as access to the “half dozen condos” leased or purchased by the corporation.
Employee incentives allegedly included free groceries, a monthly pop-up barber, and biweekly massages at FTX’s Bahamian headquarters.
On December 13, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a complaint against Bankman-Fried, alleging that he used FTX client cash to acquire luxury real estate.
According to a CNBC article dated December 13, FTX spent more than $250 million on real estate transactions in the Bahamas, including 35 properties.
Cloud said that due to the increased workload expectations, Bankman-Fried hired a psychiatrist, Dr. George K. Lerner.
Lerner was characterized as “the guy who knows [Bankman-Fried] the best” and “the FTX company therapist” in a now-deleted biography on Bankman-Fried prepared in September by venture firm Sequoia Capital.
Lerner was “propositioned as a coach” at FTX to counsel on company development and was stated to be “essential” to employee happiness and retention strategy, according to Cloud, but Lerner allegedly asked her sensitive questions about her relationship with her fiancé.