This article is adapted from the business magazine Capital and is available here for ten days. Afterwards it will only be available to read at Like stern, Capital belongs to RTL Deutschland.

Until the end, Sam Bankman-Fried felt like he had the situation under control. To be able to talk your way out of it. In the weeks and months after the crashing end of his crypto exchange FTX, he spoke out almost daily to journalists, at events and on Twitter – against the advice of his lawyers. Why not? At the age of 29, he was already one of the richest people on the planet. Everything he had touched up to that point seemed to turn gold.

He should therefore be surprised by the sentence – although it actually doesn’t come as a particularly big surprise. This is shown by the clarity of the words that Judge Lewis Kaplan chose when justifying the verdict: “The punishment must correspond to the seriousness of the crime. And that was a serious crime,” he said. Bankman-Fried hopes that the punishment could be due to the last Kaplan nipped the promised compensation for investors in the bud: “A thief who brings his loot to Las Vegas and places successful bets there is not entitled to a reduction in sentence – even if he returns it.”

The fallen Crypto King sat down and stared at his empty table. Bankman-Fried had previously pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud and five counts of conspiracy. Apparently also hopeless for his defenders. They ultimately demanded a prison sentence of at least five years. The fact that there were now 25 instead of the expected 50 or even 100 is the climax in the cinematic drama about the FTX founder.

His story shows once again what crypto founders with a lot of persuasion are capable of. Investors believed their money was safe on what was then the third-largest crypto exchange in the world, and the founder was ultimately highly praised and even made it onto the cover of Forbes. But in the background he cheated his customers out of a lot of money, embezzling around $8.7 billion out of pure greed. He is accused of using client funds to cover debts at his hedge fund Alameda Research. In addition, according to the indictment, he did not properly separate company and customer funds.

More than 60 prominent financiers, including Softbank, Ribbit, Sequoia and Coinbase, invested more than $1.9 billion in FTX. The company grew and grew and worked intensively on its brand awareness. Bankman-Fried bought the naming rights to the Miami Heat stadium for 19 years – and the star of the US football league, Tom Brady, was named “Ambassador”.

While the founder continued to appear humble, trustworthy and good-natured in public, his true colors were revealed in the dock:  He was arrogant and self-absorbed. The facts were clearly against him and he continued to stubbornly and falsely assert that the money was safe. He just wouldn’t stop explaining himself.

Just a year and a half ago, Bankman-Fried sought trust at Capital and OMR’s Finance Forward conference. “We treat customer funds as the most important assets on FTX – these are the ones that we will pay back under all circumstances,” he told the audience in Hamburg at the time. Given the developments since then, that sounds like sheer mockery today.

After all, investors can probably hope for compensation. FTX announced this at a court hearing in January. However, repayments should only be made at the exchange rate against the US dollar as of the effective date of FTX’s bankruptcy filing. In other words: There will be no refund of the original crypto holdings – which at today’s exchange rate would be worth many times that of Bitcoin.

The entire crypto community suffers the far greater damage anyway. Sam Bankman-Fried has done her a disservice. Since cryptocurrencies are already often associated with money laundering, drug trafficking and terrorist financing, regulatory and law enforcement authorities are now likely to take even tougher action against companies in the industry as a lesson from the FTX scandal. This is not in the interests of many crypto supporters – after all, they have long been dreaming of the day when currencies like Bitcoin will finally be accepted as a means of payment by the general population.