FTX Sam Bankman Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried Image Credit: Bloomberg

FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried will appeal his conviction and 25-year prison sentence for committing a multibillion dollar fraud at his once-thriving cryptocurrency exchange.

The 32-year-old filed a notice of appeal in federal court in Manhattan Thursday, formally starting the process to have his conviction and punishment overturned. The filing comes two weeks after Judge Lewis A. Kaplan sentenced Bankman-Fried to more than two decades in prison, finding the former chief executive officer was not truly remorseful for the "very serious crime." A jury had convicted the MIT graduate of fraud following a high-profile trial in late 2023.

It is unclear on what grounds Bankman-Fried intends to appeal. At trial, his defense team were prevented from calling a string of expert witnesses and presenting evidence about what he was told by FTX attorneys before the company collapsed.

In a change of tune from his earlier protests about the tough conditions at Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center, Bankman-Fried has also requested to stay at the notorious prison while his appeal plays out. It could be many months until the federal appeals court hears Bankman-Fried's arguments.

Bankman-Fried has long maintained his innocence, claiming he didn't knowingly commit fraud or steal $10 billion from customers, investors and lenders. Federal prosecutors argued he used the funds for trading at sister hedge fund Alameda Research, to purchase luxury real estate in the Bahamas and fuel political donations. At one point FTX was one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges and Bankman-Fried, who rubbed shoulders with politicians and greenlit sponsorships with celebrities, was a beacon of innovation in the crypto sphere.

While he made mistakes, Bankman-Fried contended, he didn't knowingly defraud anyone.

Even at his sentencing, Bankman-Fried doubled down on earlier claims that FTX wasn't insolvent when it filed for bankruptcy in November 2022 following a wave of customer withdrawals. He took aim at FTX's new team managing the mammoth bankruptcy case and questioned why customers hadn't been paid back yet because "there were enough assets."

Attorney Alexandra Shapiro is handling Bankman-Fried's appeal, according to Thursday's filing.