Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon

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Lewis explains how math genius and philanthropist Bankman-Fried built a financial empire that defied accepted wisdom in the crypto world and how he lost it all in a spectacular collapse involving deceit, betrayal, and a public trial.ir

Michael Lewis' book, Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon, examines the life and fall of Sam Bankman-Fried, the creator of FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange that failed in 2022. 

Lewis's firsthand observations of Bankman-Fried and his business, along with interviews with insiders, regulators, and prosecutors, served as the basis for the book. 

Lewis explains how math genius and philanthropist Bankman-Fried built a financial empire that defied accepted wisdom in the crypto world and how he lost it all in a spectacular collapse involving deceit, betrayal, and a public trial.

The book opens with an introduction to Bankman-Fried, a Californian who grew up in a well-off, liberal family. He worked as a trader for Jane Street, a quantitative hedge fund while majoring in physics at MIT. 

He grew interested in cryptocurrencies because he thought they could democratize finance and lessen global inequity, which would allow him to make money and do good. He also promised to give the majority of his income to worthwhile charitable projects, such as the battle against malaria and animal cruelty.

In order to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities in the turbulent and fragmented crypto markets, Bankman-Fried created Alameda Research in 2017. This cryptocurrency trading company employs complex algorithms and high-frequency trading tactics. He made a fortune quickly and rose to prominence as one of the top traders in the field. 

He introduced FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange in 2019 that included cutting-edge products like futures, options, leveraged tokens, and prediction markets. Millions of users and billions of dollars in transactions made FTX one of the biggest and most rapidly expanding exchanges in the world. In addition, Bankman-Fried rose to fame in the cryptocurrency world as a result of his unusual behavior, unassuming demeanor, and charitable endeavors.

However, FTX was plagued by issues in the background. Without the necessary permits or control from authorities, the exchange operated in a gray area of the law. It frequently experienced technological issues, hacks, and liquidity problems. 

Additionally, it participated in dubious tactics such as manipulating pricing, exaggerating volumes, and utilizing client cash to support its own trading positions. Bankman-Fried was aware of these problems, but he justified them as unavoidable evils essential to realizing his goal of using cryptocurrency to improve the world.

The subsequent chapters of the book detail the circumstances leading to FTX's demise. A significant hack at FTX in December 2022 led to the theft of cryptocurrency valued at over $1 billion from its wallets. Users of FTX tried to withdraw their money from the exchange out of panic following the hack. 

As a result of using the majority of its assets to fund its own trading activity, FTX did not have adequate reserves to meet the demand. Its users were left stranded and irate when FTX was compelled to restrict withdrawals and suspend trading.

The breach also revealed FTX's deception. In order to pay back debts that Alameda Research had obtained from other lenders, it was revealed that Bankman-Fried had secretly transferred billions of dollars from FTX to Alameda Research, his second company. 

Additionally, he had artificially increased the value of Alameda's tokens by purchasing them with money from FTX. These transactions misled investors and customers of FTX and broke the company's terms of service.

The aftermath of FTX's collapse is where the book comes to a conclusion. The FBI detained Bankman-Fried, who was then charged with numerous counts of conspiracy, fraud, money laundering, and market manipulation. He entered a not-guilty plea and is presently awaiting trial in New York. 

Caroline Ellison, his former coworker and girlfriend, is anticipated to testify against him in court as a major witness for the prosecution. Lewis also looks at the scandal's broader ramifications for the cryptocurrency sector and society at large. He contends that the FTX tale highlights the perils of unrestrained innovation, unbridled greed, and utopian fantasy. 


The main character is Sam Bankman-Fried, a brilliant but socially awkward individual who was obsessed with math and computers. He attended MIT, where he studied physics and mathematics. After graduating, he worked as a trader at Jane Street Capital, a quantitative trading firm.

The central theme of the book is the rise and fall of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The book chronicles how Bankman-Fried built FTX into one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, and how it all came crashing down in 2022.

Halfway through the writing of the book, the author’s task changed dramatically from profiling one of the world’s youngest billionaires to charting his spectacular implosion. Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, went bankrupt and he appeared in a Manhattan federal court on multiple charges of fraud.

The book describes Bankman-Fried as a brilliant young man and math's savant whose mental acuity is exceeded only by his social unease. Despite his grandiose ambition, he is portrayed as unassuming and a bit odd.

The title signifies the book's central tension. It traces the mind-bending trajectory of a character who never liked the rules and was allowed to live on his own until it all came undone.

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