NewsBusiness

FTX Pledges Up to $1 Billion for Philanthropic Fund to 'Improve Humanity'

The new fund will invest in nonprofit and for-profit projects—with a focus on AI and "reducing catastrophic biorisk," among other areas.

2 min read
FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. Image: FTX

In brief

  • Derivatives exchange FTX will this year invest at least $100 million in projects that help humanity.
  • The exchange’s CEO is big on philanthropy.

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX today announced a potential $1 billion fund which will invest in "ambitious projects in order to improve humanity's long-term prospects." 

The "Future Fund," part of FTX's philanthropic arm The FTX Foundation, will invest at least $100 million this year—but it has the potential to invest $1 billion if it sees enough projects it likes, according to FTX's Monday statement.

FTX is keen on investing the cash in big, philanthropic projects that can "massively scale." "Tech startups start small and then rapidly scale," said FTX. "We'd like to see that in philanthropy, too."

It is looking for projects that can safely advance AI, minimize the risk of biochemical disaster and end global poverty—among other things. 

"Our areas of interest include the safe development of artificial intelligence, reducing catastrophic biorisk, improving institutions, economic growth, great power relations, effective altruism, and more," it added in its Monday announcement. 

FTX is a popular cryptocurrency and derivatives exchange. It has the second highest 24-hour futures volume, after Binance. 

Trading derivatives is different to spot trading (where one buys and sells a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.) With derivatives, traders are buying and selling contracts that bet on the future price of cryptocurrency. 

Projects have until March 21 to apply for the first round of funding. Nonprofits and for-profits will both be considered, so long as they are aligned with FTX's mission. 

FTX's CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, has become somewhat of a celebrity in the crypto world: he was last year ranked by Forbes the world's richest 29-year-old, with a fortune of $22.5 billion.  

And his exchange, which few would have recognized just a couple of years ago, is now very well known—it sponsors a number of large U.S. sports teams, such as NBA’s Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors. It also last year signed a five-year deal with America’s premier baseball league, the MLB. 

Despite his enormous wealth, Bankman-Fried is increasingly focused on philanthropy. According to Bankman-Fried, he takes part in earning to give: a form of altruism where one deliberately pursues a high-earning career for the purpose of donating their wealth to charity. 

"When Sam was 20 years old, he set out to make as much money as he could, in order to give away everything he earned to charity," today's statement added.

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