The founder of bust cryptocurrency exchange FTX has admitted he talked up his ethical credentials as part of a “dumb game we woke Westerners play” to burnish his reputation “so everyone likes us”. The Telegraph has more.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old founder of collapsed cryptocurrency company FTX, admitted in an interview that his public stance on ethical issues was in part a “front”.
The admission comes amid accusations that Mr. Bankman-Fried scammed investors out of their money. Regulators around the world, including the U.S. Department of Justice, are investigating the collapse of FTX, which has left over one million creditors out of pocket.
Mr. Bankman-Fried, who at one stage was worth around $16bn, was a self-proclaimed “effective altruist”, meaning he aimed to make as much money as possible in order to give it away to charities.
He appeared in multiple videos explaining his views on climate change and world poverty and posted his thoughts on how to maximise his positive impact on the world on Twitter.
However, he told the website Vox: “Man all the dumb s*** I said… it’s not true really.”
He said: “I feel bad for those who get f***** by it, by this dumb game we woke westerners play where we say all the right shibboleths and so everyone likes us.”
On Thursday morning he then attempted to row back his comments, saying: “Some of what I said was thoughtless or overly strong, I was venting and not intending that to be public. What matters is what you do – is actually doing good or bad, not just talking about doing good or using ESG language.”
But Sam, all the dumb s*** you say, it’s not true really, so why should we believe you now? Can I also suggest that anything you don’t intend to be public you omit from media interviews?
Douglas Murray in the Spectator suggests people shouldn’t feel bad if they experience pangs of satisfaction at seeing the woke charlatan fall.
Today when you want to show that you really care – as opposed to actually caring – then you talk of how concerned your company is about ESG [Environment, Social, Governance]. Firms are even rated by their ESG scores. It is a great medieval Vatican-style scam. And it is everywhere.
In any case, FTX was big on ESG. On a video from January this year the company’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried and the vlogger Nas Daily – the first a shyster, the second possibly a naif – claimed that FTX existed only to make money that could then be given away. The two young men are weirdos in different ways – but the main one, Bankman-Fried, looks about 14 and has a face like a stress ball being scrunched by somebody who’s very stressed indeed.
This pair talk about all of the things that our age values most, claiming as they do that making money to pass on to special causes is much better than merely getting rich and buying a Lamborghini. If you make money and give it away to these causes, they say, that makes you way more happy than spending it on yourself.
With some infelicitous turns of phrase, Daily says various things about Bankman-Fried, which the latter then responds to. “He is funding everything you can think of: global warming” (“It’s one of the biggest problems that we have to tackle together as a world”). “COVID-19 preparedness” (“We have to be ready for the next pandemic”). “Neglected tropical diseases” (“More than a billion people suffer from them – we have to eliminate these diseases”). “And of course animal welfare” (“Animals deserve to live just like we do; it’s also why I’m vegan”).
People should really have learned about ESG by now, says Murray:
ESG – like its fellow traveller ‘Diversity Inclusion and Equity’ (or DIE, as I prefer to call it) – ought by now to be a great big warning flag to investors and speculators everywhere. When a firm or investment fund goes on about ESG or DIE it should cause hard-wired suspicion of the kind provoked by, say, a sinister stranger with a comb-over volunteering to look after the kids at bathtime.
Bankman-Fried is a rare thing – someone formerly on the inside who’s come out and uttered the truth about wokery: that’s it’s the sanctimonious creed of a prestige faith, a set of luxury beliefs there primarily for show that demonstrate how with it you are while personally costing you nothing.