30-year-old crypto billionaire wants to give away his fortune

He’s worth a whopping $26.7 billion, but this crypto entrepreneur has said he’s not interested in owning fancy things and instead wants his money to do good.

A 30-year-old cryptocurrency billionaire, who is one of the richest people in the world, plans to give away the bulk of his fortune, saying there is only so much money that can be spent to make yourself happy.

Despite being worth $26.7 billion, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and CEO of crypto exchange FTX, drives a Toyota Corolla, sleeps on a bean bag and has said he will only keep enough money to live comfortably.

For him, that’s just 1 per cent of his earnings or a minimum of $130,000 a year.

Otherwise, the California-born entrepreneur plans to make as much as possible and then give away all of his bitcoin earnings to address everything from climate change to future pandemics.

“You pretty quickly run out of really effective ways to make yourself happy by spending money,” he told Bloomberg. “I don’t want a yacht.”

Mr Bankman-Fried insists “parties are not my scene” but has reportedly mixed with a range of celebrities, including dinner at singer Sia’s Beverly Hills mansion with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, chatting crypto with Katy Perry and even lunching with basketballer Shaquille O’Neal.

Now based in the Bahamas, just five years ago Mr Bankman-Fried was working for a charity, when he spotted a pricing anomaly with bitcoin. It led him to set up a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange – which made him billions.

Launched in May 2019, his crypto exchange is now the world’s fastest growing platform, handling up to $19 billion in trades in one day, but he has aspirations to break into the mainstream finance world.

FTX made $1.4 billion in revenue last year and about $460 million in profit.

“We’re sort of playing in the kiddie pool,” he said.

“Ideally, I would want FTX to become the biggest source of financial transactions in the world.”

The vegan and supporter of effective altruism practices a philosophy of “earning to give” – something which he began while working for New York trading firm Jane Street Capital.

While working as a trader for the firm, he would give away half his six-figure salary to animal welfare groups and other charitable organizations.

It’s a habit which he has kept up.

Mr Bankman-Fried said he gave away $65 million last year to pandemic relief in India and climate change initiatives and could donate up to $1.3 billion this year – which has included giving cash to Ukrainians after Russia invaded the country.

Given the crippling impact of Covid-19 on the world, he is now also particularly focused on pandemic preparedness – worried that there could be a disease emerge that is both as contagious as coronavirus and as lethal as ebola.

“We should expect that pandemics will get worse over time and more frequent, just because of the possibility of lab leaks,” he said.

“This has a nontrivial chance of destabilizing the world if we don’t get prepared for it.”

In March, FTX launched an Australian branch, complete with a licence, a feature that is not necessarily to trade in the country yet, although the government is considering its introduction.

“The establishment of FTX Australia should provide all our local clients with the confidence of trading on a registered and licensed platform,” Mr Bankman-Fried said at the time in a statement.

“As in other jurisdictions within which we operate, significant resources have been allocated to proactively engage with local regulators.”


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