Michael McCaffrey, CEO of crypto media firm The Block, has resigned after it emerged he received $43 million worth of undisclosed loans from Sam Bankman-Fried’s defunct trading firm Alameda Research.
McCaffrey, who was made CEO of The Block in 2020, had secured the loans at a time when the publication was low on funding and needed to buy back shares in order to restructure its business, according to a report by Axios, which was later confirmed by The Block.
Without telling his employees, McCaffrey reportedly received a total of three loans from Alameda. The first loan of $12 million was used to buy out the firm’s investors in 2021, while a second $15 million loan in January 2022 was used to fund the firm’s daily operations.
The third loan of $16 million went straight to McCaffrey—and he used it to buy luxury real estate in the Bahamas.
The former Block CEO announced his resignation via Twitter on Friday, saying it was the right thing for the team. He described the loan in early 2021 as “the only material option” to restructure the business and said the investments had no influence over the publication’s editorial process.
“I didn’t disclose the loan to anyone. Absolutely no one at The Block knew about the financial arrangement between my holding company and SBF, including the editorial and the research teams,” said McCaffery.
McCaffrey has been replaced as CEO by Bobby Moran, who was formerly The Block’s chief revenue officer. In a blog post announcing his transition to CEO, Moran said that no one at the firm, besides McCaffrey himself, had any knowledge of the financial arrangement.
Many in the crypto community were convinced that The Block’s employees were in the dark about McCaffrey’s dealings with SBF based on the news outlet’s seemingly unbiased coverage of FTX-related events. However, some opined that it was highly unlikely that Bankman-Fried offered a media firm funding expecting nothing in return.
its’s hard for me to believe SBF gave McCaffrey money expecting absolutely nothing
and kept giving him money in exchange for nothing
if there is a story there, it will be found
the best thing to do would be for the employees of @TheBlock__ to find it first
— DCinvestor.eth ⌐◨-◨ (@iamDCinvestor) December 10, 2022
The Block’s Director of News Frank Chaparro said that McCaffrey had limited visibility with regards to individual stories and his involvement in editorial management was minimal.
“He had story ideas from time to time but they were always thematic – never about a specific company, product etc,” tweeted Chaparro on Sunday.