Who says criminals don’t get rich? Apple paid Michael Lewis $5 million for the rights to his unpublished book Going Infinite on super-fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried. This is significantly more than the $2 million that studios paid for the first four Harry Potter books combined.
It’s clear from the success of shows like The Dropout (on Hulu) and Inventing Anna (on Netflix) that stories about con artists like Apple’s Elizabeth Holmes and Anna Delvey continue to be popular in Hollywood. This shows how much society loves stories about notorious criminals and how much media companies profit from them.
It seems like Bankman-Fried is where it’s at. His work has inspired three novels and eight films, including a Mark Wahlberg-Fortune collaboration, according to The Ankler. Lewis will publish Number Go Up, a comprehensive crypto book with Bankman-Fried on the cover, on October 3. In an extract published this week, Bloomberg journalist Zeke Faux criticized Lewis on X (previously Twitter) for conducting an “inappropriate for a journalist” gushing interview with the subject of his book.
This whole thing is reflective of the American celebrity industry, but it does bring up some intriguing issues concerning Bankman-Fried.
When exactly will the con artist par excellence try to join in on this?
Given the apparent collective agreement among individuals inside Bankman-Fried’s close circle at FTX, including his former romantic partner, to engage in negotiations that likely entail implicating him, his choice to remain incarcerated in a Brooklyn correctional facility rather than entering a guilty plea is appearing progressively unwise. Even still, by the time his October trial is over, Bankman-Fried will be even more renowned than he is today because, in the United States, fame equals money and celebrity.
After five years in prison, “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli was released in 2022. Since then, he has become a little celebrity on social media, or as one of my coworkers put it in our Slack channel, “the most relevant irrelevant person ever.” It’s likely that Bankman-Fried will find a method to capitalize on his fame in order to satisfy his ravenous desire for money and acclaim.
Even if Bankman-Fried is successful in turning his notoriety into a fortune, he may never get to enjoy it because of the lengthy prison sentence he faces for stealing billions of dollars under the guise of charity.
Apple wants to learn more about cryptocurrencies, and Sam Bankman-Fried is a good source. The book is also likely to be a bestseller, which would give Apple significant exposure to the cryptocurrency market.
Apple paying Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX is a big endorsement. It shows that Apple believes that FTX is a major player in the cryptocurrency industry and that Sam Bankman-Fried is a respected figure in the space. However, it is important to note that the book is still in the early stages of development, and it is possible that the final product will not be as favorable to Bankman-Fried as Apple is hoping.