On Thursday morning, a Manhattan federal judge handed Sam Bankman-Fried a 25 year prison sentence for his criminal involvement in fraud and conspiracy at FTX. 

But how many years is the disgraced crypto founder likely to actually serve in a federal prison? 

The answer is fairly easy to determine, given the rigid codes and calculations used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to evaluate prisoners, incentivize them, and manage their sentences. 

Because Bankman-Fried received a sentence longer than one year, he will likely receive an automatic 15% sentence reduction, Christopher Zoukis, a federal prison consultant, told Decrypt. Pieces of that 3.75 year reduction can then be added back on to the FTX founder’s prison stint if he gets into any serious trouble while incarcerated.

Beyond that 15% reduction, however, Bankman-Fried is almost certain to spend most of the remaining 85% of his sentence—a hefty 21.25 years—in federal custody, per Zoukis. 

There are only a handful of exceptions and credit programs that could shorten the former billionaire’s stint in a federal prison. And even in a best-case scenario, such reductions could shave off only a year or two of time—no more. 

Other American prison systems, like California’s, for example, can remove huge chunks of felons’ ordered prison time—half of a sentence, or more—based on good behavior and other factors.

“The federal prison system doesn’t do that,” Zoukis said.

If Bankman-Fried complies with the First Step Act, a relatively new law that further incentivizes good behavior in prison, he could earn up to a year of additional sentence reduction. If he demonstrates a verifiable substance abuse disorder, and treats it through a residential prison program, he could shave off another year. 

But that’s pretty much it. Even in the best-case scenario; even if Bankman-Fried can prove he’s a full-on stimulant addict and seeks treatment; even if he’s granted all sentence reductions available to him under federal law; even if he acts impeccably in prison for years, teaching a whole generation of inmates about the wonderful world of investing, he’s still locked in for over 19 years in a federal prison.

And in all likelihood, that penitentiary—which it’s looking like he’s set to call home at least until he turns 51 years old—is set to be a pretty rough one.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa and Andrew Hayward

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The post SBF Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison—How Many Will He Actually Serve? – Decrypt first appeared on

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