April 4, 2022

Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried plans to give away 99% of his money as the FTX CEO embraces ‘effective altruism’ and shuns luxury

[Markets Insider, FTX]

Sam Bankman-Fried cofounded FTX in 2019 and is its CEO. 

  • Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old founder of FTX, wants to give away 99% of his money, according to Bloomberg. 
  • He is driven by a philosophy called “effective altruism,” which is based on mathematical decision making.
  • “I don’t want a yacht,” Bankman-Fried told Bloomberg. 

The billionaire founder of crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, has plans to give away the vast majority of his wealth thanks to the philosophy of “effective altruism,” which he learned in college. 

Despite running a multibillion-dollar global crypto exchange, the 30-year-old drives a Toyota Corolla, lives like a college student, and has a goal of making as much money as possible so that he will have more to give away, according to Bloomberg.

Even with his massive wealth, he says he’ll keep only about 1% of his earnings each year, or about $100,000. 

“You pretty quickly run out of really effective ways to make yourself happier by spending money,” Bankman-Fried told Bloomberg. “I don’t want a yacht.”

The MIT-grad learned of effective altruism in 2012, his junior year of college. The philosophy uses mathematical calculations to determine how people could do the most good with their money and time. 

In particular, Bankman-Fried took to the notion of “earning to give.” In line with that approach, he worked on Wall Street for three years after college and gave away 50% of his salary every year to donate to animal welfare.

These days, he can be found sleeping on a bean bag, playing video games while giving talks on Zoom at conferences, and living with groups of friends. Nonetheless, his blasé attitude doesn’t distract him from what he sees as doing the right thing.

In February after Russia invaded Ukraine, the FTX founder said his crypto exchange gave cash to all of its Ukrainian users. He also personally donated $250,000 in tether to Ukraine.

Bankman-Fried told Bloomberg he doesn’t second-guess his decision to give most of his money away. 

“It’s not a decision that I constantly reevaluate, because I think it just doesn’t do me any good to be constantly reevaluating anything,” he said. “It doesn’t, minute to minute, feel to me like a decision anymore.”

By Phil Rosen 

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