Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research Secretly Funded Crypto Media Site The Block and Its CEO

CEO Michael McCaffrey has resigned as a result of the loans coming to light, The Block confirmed.

AccessTimeIconDec 9, 2022 at 7:28 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:04 a.m. UTC

Crypto media site The Block was secretly funded over the last two years by Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research, The Block confirmed on Friday.

The Block’s CEO, Michael McCaffrey, immediately resigned after the loans came to light, and will also step down from The Block's board. The company said no one at the company had any knowledge of the loans except for McCaffrey.

  • Mainstream Media Coverage of Crypto Market
    Mainstream Media Coverage of Crypto Market
  • TruthDAO Founder Leslie Cauley on the Future of Media
    TruthDAO Founder Leslie Cauley on the Future of Media
  • The Bitcoin Narrative and the Media
    The Bitcoin Narrative and the Media
  • Meet the Host of ‘The Breakdown’ Helping Bring Crypto Awareness to the Masses
    Meet the Host of ‘The Breakdown’ Helping Bring Crypto Awareness to the Masses
  • According to The Block, McCaffrey received three loans for a total of $43 million from 2021 through this year. The first loan was for $12 million in 2021 to buy out other investors in the media company, at which time McCaffrey took over as CEO. The second was for $15 million in January to fund day-to-day operations, and the third was for $16 million earlier this year for McCaffrey to purchase personal real estate in the Bahamas, according to The Block.

    Bobby Moran, The Block’s chief revenue officer, will step into the role of CEO, effective immediately, according to the report.

    “No one at The Block had any knowledge of this financial arrangement besides Mike,” Moran said in a statement. “From our own experience, we have seen no evidence that Mike ever sought to improperly influence the newsroom or research teams, particularly in their coverage of SBF, FTX and Alameda Research.”

    Bankman-Fried, known as SBF, is the founder and former CEO of FTX, a crypto exchange that filed for bankruptcy last month after CoinDesk revealed an unusually close relationship between FTX and Alameda, a trading firm affiliated with FTX.

    In a tweet thread on Friday, McCaffrey said that in early 2021, the company was in dire straits and “the only option that materialized” was to secure a $12 million loan for his holding company from SBF.

    He said he didn’t disclose that loan, nor a subsequent $15 million loan, to anyone since he didn’t want knowledge of the loan to be seen as compromising the objectivity of the coverage of Bankman-Fried and his companies.

    McCaffrey added that he “never attempted to influence coverage of FTX, Alameda or SBF.”

    Frank Chaparro, an editor-at-large at The Block, said in a tweet that he was "gutted by this news, which was briefed to the company this afternoon, adding that McCaffrey "kept every single one of us in the dark."

    The Block is a competitor to CoinDesk.

    Axios previously reported on the news of the loans.

    UPDATE (Dec. 9, 19:45 UTC): Updated with additional background throughout.

    UPDATE (Dec. 9, 20:46 UTC): Updated with tweets from McCaffrey.


    Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

    Nelson Wang

    Nelson Wang was CoinDesk's news editor for the East Coast. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.