Announcing a new program: FTX EA Fellowships!
FTX is a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in the Bahamas, founded with the goal of making money to give to effective causes. We’re looking to
- support people doing exciting work
- kickstart an EA community in the Bahamas
To those ends, we’re looking for applications from people already working on EA jobs or projects that can be done from the Bahamas.
For fellowship recipients, we’ll provide:
- travel to and from the Bahamas
- housing in the Bahamas for up to 6 months
- an EA coworking space
- a stipend of $10,000
Round 1 applications close 11/15. We’ll get back with responses by 12/1, and accommodations will start in January. This is just an initial default schedule: happy to accept off-cycle applications or people who wouldn’t be able to move until later as well.
We plan to accept somewhere between 10-25 applicants in the first round, depending on interest and capacity constraints.
The application is here. (If you don’t need a fellowship but might want to come hang out in the Bahamas, fill out this form.) We may follow up to do an interview over video chat after reviewing initial applications. If you have any questions feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can you give some examples of exciting work that you'd find exciting enough to accept, and your selection criteria/heuristics?
To some extent TBD: this is a bit experimental. That said, some examples of who I'd imagine this might be a good fit for:
But also just excited to see what applications we get!
Can you say more about the motivation behind building an EA community in the Bahamas?
FTX moved there due primarily to the friendly regulatory environment: on crypto specifically, they're basically the first country in the world to put out a comprehensive framework for crypto regulation, while most countries have been working on this for years and will probably still be working on it for years to come. More generally, the government seems excited about encouraging tech/innovation and cutting back on red tape.
It's a fairly small country, and I think if a lot of EAs move there EA could end up being a somewhat influential force in the country: as is I think there's a decent chance of a lot more crypto moving there and it becoming somewhat of a crypto/fintech hub.
Other nice things: easy travel to the US, low tax, beaches!
(It's not perfect and actually shares many of the downsides people often talk about re: the Bay Area :P cost of living/housing is pretty high, crime rate is high, and transit/amenities aren't the best. But I'd guess the benefits make it worth having an EA community there.)
FWIW I'd also want to watch out for a "town/gown" dynamic developing over time where the newcomers and locals basically don't interact, which could cause various problems down the road. I'm sure FTX has thought about this, but I'd love to see the vision of "an EA community in the Bahamas" include people who are from the Bahamas as well.
The term "town/gown" refers to the sometimes-awkward dynamic between students/academics and the local population in college towns. These two groups often find themselves at odds politically or culturally (students and professors are often wealthier and more liberal than locals; university land purchases and urban planning can be controversial).
When two communities coexist geographically but rarely interact, this often leads the bigger/older community to impose restrictions and inconveniences on the smaller/newer community (since it usually dominates local politics). It can also create an awkward dynamic where people in the smaller/newer community don't feel comfortable leaving their "space" to go for walks, travel, shop, etc., because they see themselves as surrounded by strangers, interact awkwardly with people outside of their bubble, etc. This seems bad for a community's growth and flourishing.
If the FTX community were meant to be small and apolitical, with people rotating in and out often, I'd see the town/gown dynamic as nearly nonexistent (since this just looks like tourism, and tourism rarely breeds conflict of this type AFAIK).
But if many people end up living there lo... (read more)
If any of the accepted FTX EA fellows think that Bahamas living is prohibitively expensive, email me at email[dot ]linch[at ]gmail.com with roughly
a) how much money you need to feel comfortable/excited to go,
b) by what timeframe you need it and
c) optionally, why,
and I'll try (83% probability?) to reimburse you, within reason. I'm reasonably optimistic that I can get this covered by either FTX Foundation, or the EA funds, or somewhere else, later. If not, I'll just eat the costs myself.
I'm unilaterally doing this in a personal capacity because there was some discussion on costs of living. It may not actually be a significant factor for anyone, but if it is, I think it feels pretty dumb for our movement that some people may be worried about costs of living in the same situation as when the CEO of a billion-dollar EA trading firm is personally reviewing applications.
It's possible this situation("accepted to FTX EA fellowship" + "10k subsidy and free housing insufficient to defray CoL concerns") describes exactly zero people, but it's hard to know this before I put the offer out.
Hi, you say you will provide "housing in the Bahamas for up to 6 months".
Is there a certain minimum length of stay required (in terms of months)?
Haven't decided on a minimum, was figuring we'd see how long people want to stay/what their other commitments are and work around that
I think this would be extremely attractive if it allowed, say 3-6 month intensive "work together" periods, especially if these could be coordinated among teams that are usually remote.
If I ended up spending some time in the Bahamas this year, do you have a guess as to when would be the optimal time for that?
probably sometime February-April?
For people interested, a friend of mine visited the Bahamas/FTX recently and had very positive things to say about both.
Interesting! It sounds like you'll have more rounds of this program later. E.g. in a year? How likely is that, would you now say?
BTW we now think we've gotten back to everyone! We are still working through our remaining interviews so haven't finalized all the decisions yet, but everyone who applied should at least have heard back with a yes/no/interview. If you haven't, feel free to reach out on here or via email@example.com!
Just noting that applications close tomorrow, and want to say we really appreciate all the applications!
We've been pleasantly surprised by the number and quality of the applications and expect it'll take a bit of time to go through them all; still planning to get back to everyone one way or another by 12/1 but don't be alarmed if you haven't heard back yet or don't hear back right away.
Just wanted to inform that sending mails to firstname.lastname@example.org returns "Delivery Status Notification (Failure)"
How are the Visa issues sorted? I'm under the impression that Bahamas only lets you in for 1 year of remote work?
You know what helps me evangelize the EA movement to friends? When a movement I've talked about being steadfastly committed to moral rigor launches a "fellowship" for people to work remotely in the Bahamas because it's crypto-friendly?!
This is insanely tone-deaf. Ridicule and charges of hypocrisy directed at this effort will be much deserved. Purporting to carry a great moral burden means taking great pains to act with moral propriety and to head-off PR minefields like this one.
PSA to anyone new to FTX or Alameda. FTX and Alameda have very small teams (FTX, Alameda), high net worth, and a commitment to EA principles. Caroline Ellison (who posted this) is co-CEO for Alameda, that is how small their org is. Hence team members likely have limited time yet could be quite influential to the EA cause. Personally connecting with them could be very useful, especially if it leads to further collaboration.
(Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)
P.S. I personally would be interested in this once I complete my degree.
Hey - I tried emailing email@example.com but it looks like the address is not accepting emails. I'll send a DM to you via the EA Forum instead.
Hello! I’m new to this community, though my husband, Alex , is Less Wrong OG. We live in Ottawa, Canada with our 2 kids (4 and 7) and this winter is getting us down. I’m a rehabilitation physician, Alex is an epidemiologist by training, currently in leadership at Bluedot. Alex works in EA, I’m more in the earn to give category. We are thinking of this opportunity for winter 2023.
A few questions:
What does the housing look like?
Should we have received a confirmation that our application was successfully received?
When trying to access either of the forms I get:
Both forms say "This form can only be viewed by users in the owner's organisation."
Has anyone considered this in general for remote EA work? (not only Earning to give)
There are several EA Jobs (researching at Rethink Priorities, tech stuff....) that could be done remotely. So one option might be paying a salary and living expenses to these employees in a low cost country and have their own community. If they want they could even live together with like minded EAs
Thanks for offering these fellowships! I have a couple questions:
Hey all, one of my friends involved with EA pointed me to this fellowship a few days ago. I saw the application deadline already passed, but I submitted one anyway. Was wondering if it was possible to still be considered.
Why is the stipend 10K? How are these numbers chosen? Funds are not exactly tight on this scale. I understand that EA wants to filter for dedicated people. But I feel like these really low pay/stipends should be justified a little more explicitly. Wouldn't it make sense to offer more money since 'moving to the Bahamas for 6 months is not exactly a low-cost decision for many people? [I am aware the EA hotel gets people despite a lack of very generous stipends]
It's 10k plus travel plus housing plus co-working space, so it sounds like other than food basically the whole 10k would be disposable income. Potentially the housing provides food also. I'm not sure what cost of living is like in the Bahamas but that hardly sounds like "really low pay"
Yep definitely not intended to impose a financial strain on anyone! Since travel, housing, and office space will be paid for, we intended $10k as a reasonable amount for expenses above that. But it wasn't chosen super carefully, so we can run some numbers and increase it if it seems like more will be helpful.
Mmh, that doesn't seem accurate:
(Though these figures may still be higher than some people were expecting.)
Possibly ex-pats have different consumption baskets to the locals those statistics are measuring.
Two other estimates (I don't know how accurate they are) say the Bahamas/Nassau is overall cheaper than the US/NYC, but that food is more expensive.
Bahamas vs US: Cost of Living, Salary & Prices comparison (livingcost.org)
Nassau is 18% cheaper than New York City. Nov 2021 Cost of Living. (expatistan.com)
Would you be interested in translating our disagreement into a bet?
Yeah, that's fair. Sorry if my comment came across as overly confrontational.
On reflection, getting an accurate sense of the costs of food in Nassau is probably quite useful for many FTX Fellowship applicants, whereas I doubt many are interested in seeing you and I arrange the terms of a public bet. So although I was the one who proposed the bet and am still interested in it (and am happy to go up to $250 and rely on a survey of FTX EA fellows as you suggested), I am now more inclined to just share my estimates and see how much they disagree with yours or those of others, and perhaps explore the reasons for that disagreement.
So, without doing basically any research, and relying solely on the link I provided above and the links Stefan later shared, I'd say my best estimate is that food in Nassau is roughly as expensive as food in the Bay Area. Again very roughly, I'd say there's a 50% chance that food in Nassau is between 25% less expensive and 25% more expensive as in the Bay, and maybe a 90% chance that it's less than 50% more expensive. This doesn't take into account the fact that you seem to trust your friend's estimates, which may cause me to update a bit in your direction.
Isn't the $10k additional to the salary that you'll keep receiving from your employer?
I think the “Already working on EA jobs / projects that can be done from the Bahamas” is the answer here. To my read, this isn’t trying to fully fund someone’s work, but rather to incentivize someone to do the work from the Bahamas . If you were self-funding a project from savings, this doesn’t suddenly provide you a full salary, but it still probably looks very good as it could potentially eliminate your cash burn.
If it's an EA project and you need support, I'd apply to EA Funds, and tell FTX that you're interested and say you're still seeking funding. Even if they have the money, they also aren't throwing cash at anything that moves - and FTX isn't the best placed group to evaluate EA projects. And I'd note that EA funds also aren't particularly funding constrained - but if they were, it would make more sense for FTX to give them money instead of trying to evaluate projects and fund people directly.
-Makes money to give to causes
-Is in the Bahamas
-Supports people doing work
-Will pay $10,000 + housing for 6 months
This is really not enough information