For the past few weeks, Indian-origin executives have been in the news for different reasons, be it former CEO Parag Agarwal and legal policy head Vijaya Gadde’s ouster from Twitter or the entry of Sriram Krishnan in Musk’s team. Major brands such as Chanel, Starbucks and Microsoft now have leaders with Indian roots, but every executive sharing Indian origins don’t haven’t achieved the same sustainable success. As the crypto space is shaken once again by the FTX crash, Indian-origin Nishad Singh’s name has emerged as a member of the exchange’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
Ascent to the inner circle
Reportedly a housemate of SBF, Singh started off as an intern with Facebook in 2016 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science from California’s Berkeley University in 2017. He then joined Facebook as a software engineer and worked there for five months. He had been Director of Engineering at FTX since 2019, and had been working with SBF at Alameda Research in the same role befor that.
Who was calling the shots?
Coindesk’s reports suggest that Singh had control over funds, code and the matching engine at FTX, alongside Bankman-Fried and CTO Gary Wang. The Indian-origin key figure at FTX is now facing scrutiny over financial practices, since $10 billion was secretly transferred from the exchange to Alameda by Bankman-Fried. Singh has also been blamed for nepotism and conflict of interest at FTX, which led to the exchange’s collapse.
Crypto doomed by FTX’s fate?
The collapse has sent shockwaves through the already volatile crypto market, and wiped off billions in investors’ money for the second time this year, after the Terra collapse. It has also slashed 94 per cent from founder Bankman-Fried’s wealth, in one of the most spectacular falls from grace for an entrepreneur. The FTX fiasco has been compared to the Lehman Brothers collapse that exposed the 2008 financial crisis, and the Enron scam which pushed the energy firm to bankruptcy in 2001.