He's 30, Worth $24B, Drives a Corolla, Sleeps in a Beanbag

'I don't want a yacht,' crypto CEO Sam Bankman-Fried says of plan to give away most of his money
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2022 10:29 AM CDT
Updated Apr 10, 2022 6:31 AM CDT

Sam Bankman-Fried wants FTX, the Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange he co-founded, to become the "biggest source of financial transactions in the world." In the meantime, he has a plan for the fortune he's already raking in: He wants to give most of it away. The 30-year-old tech entrepreneur, dubbed the "Robin Hood of crypto" by the Sydney Morning Herald, recently spoke with Zeke Faux at Bloomberg about his plans to keep about $100,000 annually—1% of his earnings—and donate the rest. "You pretty quickly run out of really effective ways to make yourself happier by spending money," Bankman-Fried tells the outlet. "I don't want a yacht." USA Today notes that FTX was valued by investors at $18 billion last year, while Bankman-Fried himself has a net worth of about $24 billion, according to stats from Forbes, which has previously reported on his generosity plan.

Per Faux, Bankman-Fried "lives like a college student perpetually cramming for finals," puttering around in a Toyota Corolla, holing up in a luxury apartment in Nassau with nearly a dozen roommates, and sleeping on a beanbag. He's already started opening up his wallet, donating $50 million last year to various causes, including climate programs and aid to India to deal with the pandemic. But Bankman-Fried's "earning to give" philosophy—in which one exploits a Wall Street-driven system to rack up as much money as possible, then donates much of it—is controversial in itself, as that system props the super-rich up as saviors without addressing poverty's underlying causes, and "perpetuates inequality and undermines whatever good might be done by donations," Faux writes.

For instance, the $50 million Bankman-Fried donated in 2020 pales in comparison to what he's spent lately on various other ventures, including a $30 million Super Bowl ad starring Larry David, as well as naming rights for the Miami Heat's arena, with a price tag of $135 million over 19 years. He's also made lots of political contributions to both sides of the aisle, including more than $5 million in 2020 to a super PAC supporting Joe Biden. "As by far the richest person to emerge from the effective-altruism movement, Bankman-Fried is a thought experiment from a college philosophy seminar come to life," Faux notes of the "capitalist monk," before posing the question: "Should someone who wants to save the world first amass as much money and power as possible, or will the pursuit corrupt him along the way?" Much more here. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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