Crypto and the heart of giving – FTX CEO to donate fortune to charitable works

  • FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried plans on giving away 99 percent of his crypto fortune to works of charity.
  • As good as his intentions seem, some have questioned whether he will actually keep this word.

Many disasters have brought out the philanthropic side of the crypto community. From natural disasters such as floods and forest fires to the prevailing Covid pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

One of the notable figures making large sums of donations is thirty-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried. The founder of FTX crypto exchange, and one of the world’s youngest billionaires, now plans to give even more. 

In a recent interview, Bankman-Fried reiterated his core philosophy: to give away most of his $20B crypto fortune to charity. For him, buying things is not as important as helping those without. He plans to remain with just 1 percent of his earnings, or a minimum of $100,000 annually – just enough for a comfortable life.

Of note, the crypto investor identifies himself as an effective altruist. Such persons advocate “using evidence and reason to figure out how to benefit others as much as possible, and taking action on that basis.” True to that, Bankman-Fried’s charitable actions began over a decade ago – way back before the idea of becoming a crypto entrepreneur even struck him. More recently, he donated $25 to all FTX customers in Ukraine.

Bankman-Fried to donate 99% of crypto wealth

To further support his goodwill actions, Bankman-Fried is promoting his exchange and crypto. He ran quite an interesting ad on crypto during the recently held Super Bowl LVI. He is also actively championing positive regulation of the crypto industry, having attended two congressional hearings on the same since December. On top of that, he made donations to several Congress members and Biden’s presidential campaign. Additionally, the entrepreneur is investing in other companies of interest, including a $210M investment in US esports company TSM.

Bankman-Fried’s declarations paint him as a sort of crypto Robin hood – helping the undermined in a capitalistic society. But this begs the question: can philanthropists thrive in the cryptocurrency industry? The latter has been associated with quite a number of illegalities. In the words of US regulator Gary Gensler, crypto is “rife with fraud, scams, and abuse.” Even more, Bankman-Fried has donated less to charity than the amounts spent in the Super Bowl promotion (about $30M) and the 19+ years of naming rights for the Miami Heat arena ($135M). 

Part of his goals for FTX is to make it “the biggest source of financial transactions in the world.” With a $344B exchange volume, the company currently ranks third among crypto exchanges as of February. This makes others wonder about the possibility that a world-saver would become corrupt while amassing riches. Bankman-Fried, however, says he’s never had a second thought about making wealth and giving it all away. He is convinced of the likelihood of future life-threatening calamities – the reason he plans to donate up to $1 billion to foundations this year.

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