MiB: Zeke Faux, Number Go Up



This week, we speak with Zeke Faux,1 an investigative reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg News. He has won the Gerald Loeb Award for explanatory journalism and the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, and was a National Magazine Award finalist. He is the author of Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall.

We discuss how he fell into the entire world of crypto when a friend of his made lots of money on Dogecoin. Even though Faux knew this was a silly speculation, his buddy said there was money to be made as the coin skyrocketed 69X. Today, it’s trading at $0.069, down >99%.

His research found that there have been huge losses through scams and hacks. Event he NFTs have been stolen (“All my Apes Gone“). He reveals that >80% of Initial Coin Offerings were scams, and why so many of the stablecoins were not backed by actual dollars.

He also explains the real-life consequences of untraceable money: Kim-Jong Un uses stolen Bitcoin to fund his weapons programs. In the Philippines  In Cambodia, Tether is used for human trafficking and slave camps to push the “pig butchering” scam. And the El Salvador move to Bitcoin was a huge failure.

Perhaps the most shocking statistic: One in three members of Congress received donations from FTX.

Ironically, what Faux thought was the biggest fraud of all — the stablecoin Tether — still trades at $1 and (supposedly) has $84B in assets backing it. Merely throwing that cash into safe 10-Year Treasuries yielding 4.5-5% makes Tether one of the world’s most profitable companies.

A list of his favorite books is here; A transcript of our conversation is available here Tuesday.

You can stream and download our full conversation, including any podcast extras, on Apple Podcasts, SpotifyYouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with Linda Gibson, CEO of PGIM‘s Quantitative Solutions, which manages $119 billion via quantitative and multi-asset solutions. PGIM is one of the world’s largest asset managers, running $1.27 trillion in client assets.




1. Zeke’s last name Faux is pronounced “Fox”


Zeke Faux’ New Book

Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall by Zeke Faux


Zeke Faux’ Favorite Books

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks by Patrick Radden Keefe


Books Barry Mentioned

Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon

Endurance by Alfred Lansing


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