Nicholas Beckstead (born 1985) is an American philosopher and the Chief Executive Officer of the FTX Foundation.


Beckstead majored in mathematics and philosophy at the University of Minnesota and obtained a PhD in philosophy from Rutgers University. As a graduate student, he co-founded the first US chapter of Giving What We Can, pledging to donate half of his post-tax income until his retirement to the most cost-effective organizations fighting global poverty in the developing world.[1][2]

After completing his studies, Beckstead became a Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute and then a Program Officer for Open Philanthropy, where he oversaw much of that organization's research and grantmaking related to global catastrophic risk reduction. He joined the FTX Foundation in November 2021.[3]


Beckstead's research focuses on topics related to the long-term future and its normative implications, including existential risk,[4][5] population ethics,[6] space colonization,[7] and differential progress.[8] His doctoral dissertation, which combines some of these interests, is often credited as an important early contribution to longtermism.[9]

Further reading

Beckstead, Nick (2020) Existential risks: fundamentals, overview and intervention points, World Universities Debating Championship Distinguished Lecture Series, November 5.

Muehlhauser, Luke (2011) Nick Beckstead - Morality and global catastrophic risks, Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot, January 30.

Wiblin, Robert (2017) You want to do as much good as possible and have billions of dollars. What do you do?, 80,000 Hours, October 11.

Nick Beckstead. Official website.

Nick Beckstead. Effective Altruism Forum account.

  1. ^

    Eng, James (2010) Ordinary people, extraordinary giving, NBC News, December 21.

  2. ^

    Muehlhauser, Luke (2011) Nick Beckstead - Morality and global catastrophic risks, Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot, January 30.

  3. ^

    LinkedIn (2022) Nick Beckstead, LinkedIn.

  4. ^

    Beckstead, Nick & Toby Ord (2014) Managing existential risk from emerging technologies, in Mark Walport (ed.) Annual Report of the Government Chief Scientific Advisor 2014. Innovation: Managing Risk, Not Avoiding It. Evidence and Case Studies, London: Government Office for Science, pp. 115–120.

  5. ^

    Beckstead, Nick (2015) The long-term significance of reducing global catastrophic risks, Open Philanthropy, August 13.

  6. ^

    Beckstead, Nick (2019) A brief argument for the overwhelming importance of shaping the far future, in Hilary Greaves & Theron Pummer (eds.) Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 80–98.

  7. ^

    Beckstead, Nick (2014) Will we eventually be able to colonize other stars? Notes from a preliminary review, Global Priorities Project, June 22.

  8. ^

    Beckstead, Nick (2015) Differential technological development: some early thinking, The GiveWell Blog, September 30.

  9. ^

    Beckstead, Nick (2013) On the Overwhelming Importance of Shaping the Far Future, PhD thesis, Rutgers University.