Sabs

412Joined Sep 2022

Comments
52

I love how "the community's second biggest funder turns out to be a scam artist" does not even prompt the slightest reconsideration of the value of people being able to call out bad actors when they see them, nope, we're just going to double-down on this absurd and comical set of community politeness norms that do little but enable savvy predators to exploit EA as a movement and individual EAs as people.

And fwiw, there were a number of other conclusions I could have very  easily drawn about Torres and signs of mental illness I could have pointed out, but I very carefully did not since I thought those might be upsetting. This was the toned-down version of my original post.

Answer by SabsNov 20, 2022108

I wouldn't worry. Even on the most base level, there's still $400 mill per annum of Open Phil money up for grabs, so don't worry, I don't think the EA community is going anywhere in a hurry.

if he raises money it should go to pay out FTX depositors.

idk, when people explicitly endorse your ideology as why they endorse "high leverage and double-or-nothing flips" I think it's at least worth taking a look at yourself. Now quite probably the person in question has misunderstood your ideology and doesn't understand why EAs do in fact care about the risk of ruin and why stealing money isn't ok, but then perhaps try to correct them?

Fwiw I think it very unlikely that the decision to use customer funds was a one-off decision made in 2022. My view is that that FTX was set up from the start to use customer money as a source of cheap capital for Alameda. In 2018 Alameda was offering potential investors a 15% guaranteed return on loans. It seems fairly likely that at some point SBF figured "fuck this, why are we offering these dorks 15% when we can just set up our own exchange and access huge amounts of capital at 0%". Never mind that the fact that privileged information from the exchange may well have opened up  for Alameda more ways to make money! 

The plan, imo, was always to accrue as much as wealth as possible as fast as possible with as few ethical constraints as possible. This worked for a while because Alameda's trades were profitable and crypto was in a bull market. This plan may or may not have been a EA-aligned, but if you have short enough AI/pandemic timelines (I don't), it doesn't seem obviously non-compatible and given the career backgrounds and interest set of all the major people involved, yes, I think they were committed and sincere EAs who really believed this stuff. SBF's own weird version of EA, at least, seems to have played a fairly large role in why they took on so much risk, as he himself explained in an overly long and boring twitter thread somewhere and Caroline also mentioned on her blog.

It also makes zero sense to compare FTX's spending on stadiums vs the Future Fund as a sign for how much they cared about these respective things. The Future Fund would almost certainly have got way more money in subsequent years, while the stadium rights purchase was a form of advertising designed to help grow the business faster. I can't imagine SBF is a big sports fan and was doing that sort of thing because he really enjoyed seeing the FTX logo on umpire shirts. 

Not to Godwinpost, but this isn't really "were Nietzsche and Wagner at fault for the Nazis", it's more "were Nietzsche and Wagner at fault for the Nazis if they'd actually lived throughout the 1930s and worked in prominent cultural education posts in the German state bureaucracy."

"This person should have made some money betting against FTX before it collapsed and then I'd take them more seriously."

this is naive EMH fundamentalism

not everything can be shorted, not everything can be shorted easily, not everything should be shorted, markets can be manipulated. Especially the crypto market. It both can be the case that people 100% think X is a fraud, and X collapses, and shorting X would have been a losing trade over most timeframes. "Never short" is an oversimplification but honestly not a bad one.


 

This is laughably disingenuous. An unregulated offshore crypto exchange that had hired the Ultimate Bet lawyer and publicly ran a hedge fund on the side collapsing is like the exact opposite of a black swan, it's  not even a grey swan, it's that swan that's definitely no longer a cygnet and is almost grown up but still has a few bits of darker fluff. Maybe no one thought it was likely, and I think almost no thought FTX was $8bn in the hole or had quite such an atrocious balance sheet (IMO not even CZ thought this), but come on!

What about the GBTC arb trade? Did Alameda get into that during your time there?

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