This is a linkpost for https://www.semafor.com/article/12/07/2022/charity-money-launched-sam-bankman-frieds-empire
Found this reporting interesting. The entire financial operation was expressly set up by funding from top Effective Altruists. I think we previously saw EA as resembling a victim in this scenario, but I am curious how that understanding evolves at this moment as we learn more.
When Bankman-Fried and others like Mac Aulay tried to raise money for the idea from crypto investors outside the Effective Altruism movement, they weren’t taken seriously. Without backers inside Effective Altruism, it’s hard to imagine Bankman-Fried, a recent college grad, getting more than $100 million to play with at a crypto trading firm. And without Alameda, there never would have been an FTX.
This is not true. The FAQ was not put together by CEA, and so far as I know Hamish has no affiliation with CEA (nor did he ever claim to).
The article now says the FAQ was "put together by the effective altruism forum." This is not true either, nor does it make sense. If they would like to copy and paste:
"A user on the effective altruism forum posted an FAQ."
This makes it sound a lot less official and less like something you'd want to quote in a publication. But that's because it is in fact not official at all.
The article discusses how some effective altruists were the earliest donors to FTX. Since they funded it at that stage, lots of non-EA funding/talent/publicity came in.
> I think we previously saw EA as resembling a victim in this scenario, but I am curious how that understanding evolves at this moment as we learn more.
It's a complicated situation. I think it's definitely possible to give early-on support to a project that eventually really bites you. Similar to early unsuspecting investors of other orgs that later did some bad things.
The "project" was just to make a bunch of money on crypto; I don't see how the investors could justify that as a moral use of their capital. The entire industry runs on the expected losses of random less educated people, third world countries, refugees, black market vendors, and gambling addicts. Losses that come from unregulated manipulation of market value of tokens which have no real world value. Manipulation like that which SBF is now under investigation for. This is quite the stretch to say there were good intentions going in.
Sam and his leadership group, primarily, created FTX, but I agree that EA & utilitarianism also deserve a lot of the blame.
Can someone explain the spreadsheet in the linked story like I'm five?