Caroline Ellison is the former CEO of Alameda Research and a former executive at cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
Ellison got her education at Stanford University and started her working career at Jane Street Capital, a global prop trading firm trading over $17 trillion in securities in 2020.
In 2018, while working at Jane Street Capital, Ellison met Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), a former Jane Street employee himself.
SBF persuaded her to leave Jane Street and join his Alameda Research trading firm, a hedge fund that specialized in trading digital currencies.
The company would call Berkely California home initially, then move to Hong Kong, and then ultimately settle on the Bahamas as changes to crypto regulation in Hong Kong became less favorable for operating crypto businesses.
In 2019, SBF went live with the cryptocurrency and derivatives exchange FTX, acting as CEO for both FTX and Alameda.
In October 2021, SBF wanted to reduce his role at Alameda to focus on the crypto exchange, so he stepped down as CEO and appointed Ellison and Sam Trubucco as co-CEOs.
Their appointment led to Forbes featuring the pair in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list of successful executives in 2022.
Only a few months later, in April 2022, Trubucco stepped down as co-CEO, leaving Caroline Ellison as the sole CEO of Alameda Research.
Following the liquidity crisis at FTX that resulted in its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Alameda followed suit and also filed for bankruptcy just days later.
Recent revelations point to SBF, Ellison, and other FTX and Alameda executives being involved in moving billions worth of FTX customer funds to Alameda to cover bad trading bets and liabilities on existing loans taken out to invest in other businesses.
Ellison was fired from her position at FTX following the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and appointment of a new FTX CEO.
On Dec 21, 2022, Caroline Ellison, along with Gary Wang, former CTO of FTX, were both charged by the SEC with defrauding investors by manipulating the price of FTT, causing the valuation of Alameda’s FTT holdings to be overinflated, and subsequently causing the value of collateral based on FTT to be overstated. The SEC goes on to say that Ellison was directly involved in misappropriating FTX customer funds to cover Alameda’s trading activity.
The following day, Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang pleaded guilty to all charges put forward by the SEC related to the collapse of FTX.