113 karmaJoined Working (6-15 years)Palo Alto, CA, USA


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It doesn't matter his intentions, it matters his actions and outcomes. 

And really, from an EA perspective, all that matters is the general view from the public and that impact on current and future members/organisations/grants. 

While the majority of news about EA is negative right now, interestingly GWWC has had more trial members join halfway through November than the entirety of September and October and 10 times more than November last year.


The forum may look gloomy right now but there's a silver lining :) 

Sadly, I agree with many of the points in this article. 

“Just as the astrologer promises us that ‘struggle is in our future’ and can therefore never be refuted, so too can the longtermist simply claim that there are a staggering number of people in the future, thus rendering any counter argument mute,” he wrote in a post on the Effective Altruism forum. This matters, Chugg told me, because “You’re starting to pull numbers out of hats, and comparing them to saving living kids from malaria.”

I've been thinking this for a long time but not been able to put together something so succinct. Personally, I will carry on championing my interpretation of EA that is to look at charity like your investments and get the best bang for your buck. Wether I'll use the term 'EA' to describe myself will depend on the next few months - if the general understanding of EA is speculative longtermism, cultish behavior, and 'ends justify the means' then I'd rather not bring it up. 

Maybe EA will split in two, one group carrying on like they are now with a focus on longtermism and another that focuses solely on real impacts that can be seen and measured within our lifetimes. Maybe it doesn't matter as long as you and I keep it in our minds when we make our donations to charity funding malaria nets saving real lives today, no matter how small that impact might be compared to SBF and the future trillions of humans at risk of AI going rogue on Mars. 

Edit: Not to say longtermism doesn't have its place, I just feel too much time is spent on these things that may never happen while real people face real issues today (or may face in the near future, like pandemic preparedness). 

People affected aren't just FTT investors but anyone who used the FTX platform. This is I believe $16B? And, to make matters worse, this money was meant to be held 1:1 but looks like it was loaned out to SBFs trading firm (using FTT) in order to trade. They appear to have minted more FTT in order to make up lost funds (possibly in Q2 when other firms went down). This thread explains a pretty plausible version of events:


It's not a mysterious connection but EA must not become synonymous with Fraud under the guise of 'good'. People should not rob banks to send money to CEA.

Edit: This is a random example, I am not saying Sam robbed a bank!

for integrity's sake, too, I hope we avoid throwing Sam or anyone else under the bus before the facts are clearly demonstrated. I think you can distance without blaming, and in early stages, that might be the most appropriate action.

Yes, I agree. I don't mean to throw Sam under the bus here. I'm sure his intentions were from a good place. I do mean that this is probably going to become the first time many people hear about EA and that should be handled in some way. If EA becomes synonymous with Crypto fraud then we could see less support from existing people and it is first thing people see when they're looking into EA (GWWC, EA Funds, etc). 

It is important to wait and see what happened in more light. We must not have EA used as a defense of criminal activities, if anything illegal did take place. I don't mean to throw anyone under the bus here, and I don't really think I mean 'disassociate SBF from EA', I mean we should avoid EA becoming associated with Crypto failures because frankly I believe this will be the first introduction many people have to EA. 

Let's try avoid this trending meme on Twitter becoming the general conception of EA 


And, maybe, this is all water under the bridge in a week and it just goes away. 

I think there’s two possible next steps:

  1. Be vigilant of what money is being donated to EA - if it comes from grey area fields (and I say this as someone who’s worked in crypto for a few years, albeit I quit the area earlier in the year). Of course this being EA there’s going to be people arguing the money has been moved to more positive uses, but public image is key to have sustainable donations moving on.

  2. Have a piece about the pros of EA and thank SBF/FTX for their donations but be clear that EA doesn’t knowingly accept money obtained in potentially immoral ways. Now there’s a chance this was all above board and FTX got beaten by a competitor in an unregulated sector, which is of course possible! However there’s a lot of contradictory points popping up about 1:1 backing and the trading firm was very close to an exchange… market information to front run I get, but hopefully they didn’t loan users funds via FTT to trade.

I think there's a few serious questions here. 

  1. Morally, if it's found that FTX funded EA through fraudulent activity, is there an imperative to do anything about this? Return funds, support those impacted, etc... Suicide due to a lack of funds is not unprecedented in the crypto space and a ~90% loss of a leading coin may sadly result in loss of life. 
  2. How does this impact current EA initiatives relying on FTX-based funding? Is there an urgent need to find other sources of funds to cover important work here? 
  3. Is there a need to disassociate EA with FTX because of SBF (he was a director of CEA, spoken about it, and there are other links recently made public such as Will MacAskill's texts to Elon Musk introducing SBF to be involved in the Twitter deal).

There's a huge negative sentiment towards SBF 'playing a white knight' that I've seen on FB/Reddit/HackerNews is leading people to assume EA itself may be fraudulent. Maybe it's water under the bridge within a week? But maybe it impacts future philanthropy and impacted EA groups losing funding lose trust.