A few years ago, an editor asked Bloomberg investigative reporter Zeke Faux to take a look at the cryptocurrency Tether, a so-called stablecoin meant to precisely track the US dollar by backing it with real-world reserves. What followed was a tour through some of the most-colorful corners of the crypto world, from Mighty Ducks actor Brock Pierce’s yacht to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s digs in the Bahamas and, finally, a hotbed for human trafficking in Cambodia.
Faux joined the What Goes Up podcast to discuss his reporting, which is laid out in his new book Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall.
“There's actually these whole office towers, floor after floor of people who've been lured from, say, like Vietnam, with the offer of a good job,” Faux says. “Then when they get there, they're trapped. They're told they can't leave. They're beaten. They get electric shocks, other forms of torture, and they're just given like 10 phones each and made to try to lure people into scams from around the world.”