Sam Bankman-Fried is out on bond, not bail

Sam Bankman-Fried walks near a sidewalk on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 15. AP file photo.

By the Daily Post staff

Sam Bankman-Fried, the cryptocurrency king whose empire collapsed and is now facing federal charges, was released to his parents home at Stanford on $250 million bond, not bail.

There’s a big difference.

He didn’t have to pay any money to be released. Instead, all he had to do is promise to appear in court at for future hearings.

If he fails to appear in court, the assets he pledged — his parents’ Stanford home — could be seized by the court.

Bail is very different.

A defendant pays a bailbondsman up to 10% of the bail amount to be released from jail. To be freed on bail, SBF would need to give $25 million to a bailbonds company. The premium paid to the bondsman is non-refundable even if the defendant makes all of his court dates.

Sometimes people confuse the words bail and bond, even people who are attorneys or who purport to have a background in the law. Here are some links to articles that expand on this subject.

• A bailbonds company explains the difference

• Justia, the legal information retrieval site, says “The words ‘bail’ and ‘bond’ are often used almost interchangeably when discussing jail release, and while they are closely related to each other, they are not the same thing. Bail is the money a defendant must pay in order to get out of jail. A bond is posted on a defendant’s behalf, usually by a bail bond company, to secure his or her release.”

• The news website CoinDesk says SBF “was simply released from custody on something called a personal recognizance bond.”


  1. Thanks for making this clear. Another local paper and its commenters are hopelessly confused. My takeaway from this is that SBF had an easy time avoiding jail. All he had to do is sign a piece of paper and go back to the home where he grew up.

  2. The person who isn’t clear on the concept is Rebecca Eisenberg, our new water board member whose claim to fame is that she talks during every public comment session of city council. Eisenberg got it exactly backward and linked an article with her comment that refutes her claim. Guess she didn’t have time to read it since she was probably talking at the time. She says she’s a lawyer but I guess she failed all of the questions about the Eighth Amendment on the Bar.

  3. The fact that Rebecca Eisenberg got it wrong isn’t exactly a shocker. Listen to any of her rants and you’ll know that she just says things without thinking or researching. Her frequent comments during council meetings were more annoying than anything else.

    • Why anybody takes Rebecca Eisenberg seriously is beyond me. I was stunned she won the seat on the Valley Water board. Kremen would have won if he had simply bought ads that replayed her comments at council. Any alleged verbal abuse by Kremen pales by comparison to the abuse Eisenberg dished out as a public commenter at Palo Alto council meetings.

  4. The big difference here is that the judge in NY cut little Sammy a break. Instead of making him come up with $25 million, he was allowed to walk out of jail after signing a piece of paper — and paying no money. I think of all the people rotting away in county jails because they’re too poor to afford bail and then I see the deal this guy got, and it makes you sick. Why aren’t the people who always scream “white privilege” upset about this?

  5. So if it were bail, SBF would have had to pay to stay out of jail. But a bond doesn’t require any payment — just a promise to give up property if he flees. Thanks for the story. This kind of reporting is why the Daily Post is my favorite paper.

  6. I hope that justice prevails and all charges are dropped against this man. Stop locking away people who can actually do some good for our country. Trump should give him a pardon when he is elected again.

  7. Why do I think that all of the contributions he made to Joe Biden and the Democrats resulted in this cushy deal to avoid jail? I hope this case can be investigated without the involvement of the Democrat-controlled FBI.

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