FTX's Bankman-Fried Is Already a Political Mega-Donor. He's Doubling Down

The effective altruist has given tens of millions of dollars to candidates. He's planning to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars more.

AccessTimeIconMay 24, 2022 at 8:25 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:22 p.m. UTC
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FTX exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried said in a podcast Monday he might donate up to $1 billion in the 2024 U.S. presidential election.

  • In an interview on the Pushkin podcast “What’s Your Problem?” the multi-billionaire crypto entrepreneur said he would spend “north of $100 million” on future political campaigns. This record-breaking number would be a “soft ceiling” for his donations, he said.
  • An effective altruist, Bankman-Fried is worth $20 billion and has already donated $200 million of his net worth, according to the podcast interview. Much of that has gone to political efforts: He donated $23 million to a single Political Action Committee (PAC) this year.
  • His political donations have yielded mixed results. Bankman-Fried was one of the single-largest donors backing President Joe Biden’s victorious 2020 campaign. But his favored candidate in an Oregon congressional primary was trounced last week despite benefitting from $11 million in Bankman-Fried PAC money.
  • For 2024 presidential spending, “it’s gonna depend on who is running,” Bankman-Fried told podcast host Jacob Goldstein. “I’m going to be looking a lot less at political party from that perspective and a lot more about sane governance.”
  • On Wednesday morning, Bankman-Fried posted a Twitter thread explaining his political views further in depth, saying “In the end, the issues I care about are those that are most important to the world we hand off to our children.”
  • He also addressed his potential to donate such a large sum, saying, “My contributions could be substantial, or not; and their party breakdown will depend on the candidates and policies.”
  • Bankman-Fried’s donation projections have been met with some skepticism. Journalist Jacob Silverman, for example, weighed in on Bankman-Fried’s thread, expressing concern about his lack of party alignment.
  • “For example, he said there are good ideas in both parties, but if he also cares about preserving democracy, will he donate to GOP politicians who reject election results?” tweeted Silverman.

Sam Bankman-Fried is scheduled to speak at Consensus 2022 in June.

UPDATE (May 25, 14:17 UTC): Updated with Bankman-Fried's and Silverman's tweets on Wednesday .


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Cam Thompson

Cam Thompson was a news reporter at CoinDesk.

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