Is Caroline Ellison Related to Larry Ellison? The Truth Behind the FTX Scandal

Caroline Ellison is a name that has been making headlines recently, but not for a good reason. The former CEO of Alameda Research, a trading firm affiliated with the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, pleaded guilty to several charges of fraud and conspiracy in December 2022. She was accused of manipulating the price of FTT, the native token of FTX, at the direction of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and CEO of FTX.

But who is Caroline Ellison, and what is her background? Is she related to Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder of Oracle Corporation and one of the richest people in the world? Here is what we know.

Caroline Ellison’s Early Life and Education

Caroline Ellison was born in 1994 in Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up in nearby suburbs Cambridge and Newton. She is the eldest of three daughters of Glenn and Sara Fisher Ellison, both economics professors at MIT.

According to Wikipedia, Ellison was brought up Catholic and was exposed to economics early in her life. She learned Bayesian statistics in primary school and gifted her father with an economic study of stuffed animal prices from Toys “R” Us for his birthday when she was 8 years old.

Ellison was also a math prodigy who competed in various contests and olympiads. She received top honors in the American Mathematics Competitions in 2008, represented the US in the International Linguistics Olympiad in 2011, and scored in the top 500 students in the Putnam Competitions from 2013 to 2015.

Ellison graduated from Newton North High School in 2012 with a National Merit Scholarship. She then attended Stanford University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2016. While at Stanford, she developed an interest in effective altruism, a data-based philanthropic movement. She joined Stanford’s effective altruism club and served as its vice president.

Caroline Ellison’s Career and Controversy

While attending Stanford, Ellison began her career in quantitative trading with two internships at Jane Street, a proprietary trading firm in New York City. She also worked as a research assistant for economist Susan Athey at Stanford.

After graduating from Stanford, Ellison joined Alameda Research as one of its first employees. Alameda Research was founded by Sam Bankman-Fried, a former trader at Jane Street who left to pursue his passion for cryptocurrencies. Alameda Research is a quantitative trading firm that specializes in arbitrage, market making, and algorithmic trading in the crypto space.

Ellison rose to become the CEO of Alameda Research by 2020. She also became romantically involved with Bankman-Fried, although they later broke up. As the CEO of Alameda Research, Ellison oversaw the trading operations and strategies of the firm, which claimed to manage over $1 billion in assets and trade over $10 billion per day across various platforms.

One of those platforms was FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange that Bankman-Fried launched in 2019. FTX is known for offering innovative products such as futures contracts, leveraged tokens, prediction markets, and options on various cryptocurrencies and other assets. FTX also has its own native token called FTT, which gives holders various benefits such as fee discounts, voting rights, and a share of the exchange’s revenue.

However, things took a turn for the worse for Ellison and Bankman-Fried in November 2022, when an anonymous source told The Wall Street Journal that Alameda Research owed $10 billion to FTX. The source said that FTX had lent money from customer funds to Alameda Research to boost its trading volume and profits. This raised concerns about the solvency and liquidity of both entities.

Soon after, FTX and Alameda Research filed for bankruptcy protection amid lawsuits from investors and regulators. Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, securities fraud, commodities fraud, and campaign finance law violations. He is currently awaiting extradition to the US.

Ellison was also arrested and charged with similar offences. She pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. She also agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors for the ongoing investigation.

According to The Washington Post, Ellison admitted that she manipulated the price of FTT at Bankman-Fried’s direction by placing fake orders on FTX and other exchanges. She also admitted that she lied to investors about FTX’s financial situation and performance.

Ellison faces up to 110 years in prison if convicted on all charges. Her sentencing date has not been set yet.

Is Caroline Ellison Related to Larry Ellison?

Given her surname and involvement in the tech industry, some people might wonder if Caroline Ellison is related to Larry Ellison, the co-founder and former CEO of Oracle Corporation. Larry Ellison is one of the most influential and wealthy figures in the tech world, with a net worth of over $100 billion as of December 2022. He is also known for his philanthropy, yachting, and ownership of the Hawaiian island of Lanai.

However, there is no evidence that Caroline Ellison and Larry Ellison are related in any way. They do not share any family ties or ancestry, as far as we know. They just happen to have the same last name, which is not uncommon in the US.

Caroline Ellison’s parents are Glenn and Sara Fisher Ellison, both economists at MIT. Larry Ellison’s parents were Florence Spellman, an unwed 19-year-old of Jewish descent, and an Italian-American US Air Force pilot named Louis Ellison, who was married to another woman. Larry Ellison was adopted by his maternal aunt and uncle, Lillian and Louis Ellison, when he was nine months old.

Therefore, Caroline Ellison and Larry Ellison are not blood-related or even adoptive relatives. They are just two individuals who have made their mark in the tech industry, albeit in very different ways.

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