What future for The Block, the media that SBF financed

Would Sam Bankman-Fried have provided significant funding to media outlets to promote a favorable public narrative about his activities? Yes, says Axios. The investigative media outlet claims that The Block, a crypto media outlet, received three secret funding grants from SBF and Alamada Research. The CEO who had received these secret financings resigned. The new management of The Block reassures that these funds did not affect the independence of its work. A case that reopens the debate on the influence of SBF and the independence of crypto media.

SBF donated $16 million to independent media outlet The Block

A few weeks after the bankruptcy of FTX and the entire financial empire built by its former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the revelations and repercussions of this case on other sectors continue. The Block, a crypto media outlet is said to have received millions from SBF. This is at least what the media Axios reveals.

In an exclusive article, Axios reports that SBF has funded the independent media outlet The Block to the tune of $16 million. This significant funding was used in part by its CEO, Michael McCaffrey, for real estate investments in the Bahamas.

Michael McCaffrey, until now, had kept this information secret, including from his employees. However, The Block makes transparency about its financial holdings a guarantee of independence. On its website, the media outlet states that this transparency is intended to avoid any appearance of bias or irregularity in the information, in order to maintain the trust of its readers.

This secret payment to an independent media outlet casts doubt on the neutrality of The Block‘s coverage of Sam Bankman-Fried’s mismanagement of FTX.

The payments, which The Block employees were previously unaware of, could undermine the company’s credibility and cast doubt on its coverage of Bankman-Fried, the now bankrupt FTX and Alameda Research.


McCaffrey throws in the towel

Visibly embarrassed by the Axios revelations, Michael McCaffrey has announced his resignation as CEO of The Block. He has held this position since 2020. This position has allowed him to restructure The Block to better control it.

Indeed, in April 2021, McCaffrey made The Block a 100% employee-owned company. As a majority shareholder, he inducted himself as the sole member of the company’s board of directors. The $12 million McCaffrey used to become a majority shareholder of The Block came from … Sam Bankman-Fried.

According to Axios, in addition to $12 million, McCaffrey received another $15 million in January 2022 to provide capital to The Block.

That’s a total of three transactions covering $43 million that McCaffrey received from Sam Bankman-Fried.

The future of The Block with Bobby Moran

Following McCaffrey‘s resignation, The Block will now be managed by Bobby Moran. He was previously the chief revenue officer at The Block. Perhaps the first issue the new CEO addressed was the funds received from Sam Bankman-Fried and their impact on The Block‘s independence.

In a statement, Bobby Moran made it clear that the entire team was unaware of the funding. McCaffrey had first told him about the transactions just before Thanksgiving. Together, they briefed a few members of the company’s senior editorial team earlier this week. The other editors didn’t learn about it until Friday at the same time as McCaffrey‘s resignation.

In addition, the new CEO of The Block said that the secret funding he received from SBF did not affect his company’s independence. He singularly stated that he has never seen MCCaffrey attempt to impose any particular media coverage on Sam Bankman-Fried and his related companies.

No one at The Block knew of this financial arrangement except Mike… In our own experience, we saw no evidence that Mike ever sought to improperly influence the newsroom or the research teams, particularly in their coverage of SBF, FTX and Alameda Research.

Bobby Moran, new CEO of The Block

The new CEO of The Block is also looking to restructure the medium. One important front he promises to tackle is the board of directors. This body will no longer consist of one person, but three. This should limit mismanagement and withholding of information as McCaffrey did.

For now, the Block’s teams are angry that they blindly trusted McCaffrey. Still, it is interesting to note that the editors of The Block remain motivated to continue the adventure. This is notably the case of senior researcher Larry Cermak, who promises to continue working for The Block along with some thirty other researchers. Good luck to The Block in its restructuring. In the meantime, never forget to diversify your sources and the media you follow.