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FTX investor Sequoia removed its glowing profile of Sam Bankman-Fried (businessinsider.com)
221 points by simonebrunozzi 76 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 179 comments

What is striking about the Sam Bankman-Fried case is that for a long time he was considered to be one of the few who really knew what he was doing and also an advocate for more regulation.

It appears to have been a smoke screen, given the financial fragility of his multiple companies, he could not have been looking for more scrutiny and regulation, he was playing Poker with politicians and his competitors.

Same with his stance about charity and altruism, all PR, likely nothing in good faith.

All of this is not surprising or unusual in business, deception is part of the game, but the part I find disappointing is that almost everyone believed it until it crashed.

Why? This is not the first time.

Enron, Worldcom, Theranos, Madoff, Nikola, to name a few...

It's a remarkable veneer. The nepotism and elite corruption is bold faced.

SBF's parents are Stanford lawyers who specialize in compliance and ethics. Alameda CEO's dad runs the economics department at MIT, where the current head of the SEC was a professor.

"I'm a big advocate for Sam because he has two parents that are compliance lawyers. If there's ever a place I can be where I'm not going to get in trouble, it's gonna be FTX" https://twitter.com/Guruleaks1/status/1591086077489844224

FBX's chief lobbyist is a former CFTC commissioner, who is now distancing himself. https://twitter.com/EpsilonTheory/status/1591194581843836928

Senators are still going forward with an SBF-backed bill https://www.theblock.co/post/185746/senators-moving-forward-...

> I'm a big advocate for Sam because he has two parents that are compliance lawyers

When authority bias hits too hard.

I mean he was too naive to consider that someone who knows all the rules is automatically gonna be using his knowledge for good.Also, naive enough to trust a kid he didn't raise

I was about to p.s. a comment to same OP to basically say "this is what corruption in high places looks like".

The key question to ask here is how is this possible in a nation governed by rule of law? And, what is the impediment that permits this "bold faced" corruption. And finally, what needs to be done to remove this impediment.

Unfortunately I think the biggest red flag is one that doesn't become widely publicized, and I don't know if it happened in this case: a well-respected senior hire comes into the firm and leaves quickly, after discovering the mess. Excuses are made if it does become public, but most people brush it off as not clicking with the culture.

Someone I know joined a rather large investment firm and this happened. I only knew about the mess because I'm friends with him, but oh boy it was a mess. Guy moved on, doesn't mention it anymore, but will tell you if you know him.

Similar story with a major international bank. Friend goes in, sees a load of bodies (board members doing shady things), leaves. Nothing to report.

Or a sudden change of course of the business and simultaneous departures. Obviously not everyone was on-board.

When the RIAA went started suing mp3 downloaders, the CEO left for “family reasons”, but a few decades later it came out that they saw downloading music off the internet as their future business model. Napster was a representation of her vision of a virtual jukebox that could play any song ever made.

(Can’t remember for the life of me which documentary she was filmed describing that)


Reminds me of the debacle at the NRA, when Oliver North joined and rapidly left. I think we're all still waiting to get to the bottom of that one.

> ... he was playing Poker with politicians and his competitors.

With his competitors certainly. And Binance, which may or may not be as corrupt as FTX, called FTX's bluff. If CZ is a scammer too (I don't know about that [1]), he wouldn't go down while handling the market to another scammer. So poker with Binance: I agree.

Poker with Coinbase (which I think and hope are legit) too, who patiently waited, with higher fees and way less promises, while the Luna/Terra/BlockFi were offering 8% APY returns "because geniuses".

But saying: "playing poker with politicians" while they received $40 m is a very gentle way to put it. He was very likely downright bribing politicians and several people at the SEC and (ex-)CTFC (which a US congressman is saying allegedly happened).

These "elites" should be behind bars.

That's the real story here.

> Why? This is not the first time. > > Enron, Worldcom, Theranos, Madoff, Nikola, to name a few...

Exactly. It's not about cryptocurrencies. It's not something Satoshi Nakamoto planned.

A thousand years ago these politicians and SEC officials would have been hanged, drawn and quartered for high treason towards the state. Nowadays, because we live in in a modern society were justice reigns, these politicans and SEC officials are going behind bars.

Except it's not going to happen.

In french there's an old saying: "En prison, en prison pour incompetence".

Which means: "In jail, in jail for incompetence".

Even if these politicians and officials play the "I didn't know" card, I still think they should be behind bars for their sheer ineptitude.

It's an impossible task to be ruled by such dumbasses.

At the very least I see that he can't take care of his body, why then will he be able to take care of mine?


> he was playing Poker with politicians and his competitors ..


I have a bridge over Dneiper (solid soviet construction) to sell. Wanna buy?

> an advocate for more regulation.

Perhaps he was envisioning a GFC style bailout in case one of his martingale bets increased beyond the size of M2.

He was envisioning getting crypto embedded into portfolios of pension funds and sovereign wealth funds. There's only so much you can steal from the r/bitcoin r/stonks demographics.

He knew that playing friends with people in power was good insurance policy and that he could trick them.

Seems to have worked for him so far.

Will be interesting to find out what his personal assets are and how much he gets to keep.

If he was smart, he bought everyone in his family a nice house at least a year ago.

> If he was smart, he bought everyone in his family a nice house at least a year ago.

Then not smart enough to realize all that can be clawed back.

Unfortunately, the answer to "will that happen" is "it depends".

Lawyers will do very well for a while, I'm sure of that.

> It appears to have been a smoke screen... He was playing poker...

This is every small tech company.

People who have very elitist backgrounds should simply be avoided by savvy investors

I mean I see these things and I hate it, but damn it worked(for at least a little bit). So long as it works, people will continue these bold faces lies


I would have been embarrassed to release it in the first case even if FTX were doing great. The investors were impressed that SBF was playing League of Legends during a fundraising meeting. They thought it was a good thing.

I've never been much of a believer in (stale, traditional) "honor-bound" business, where people are offended by rude behavior and personal slights and everyone has to dress up and speak properly. But my God, I'm starting to hope that it makes a comeback. Imagine losing a huge chunk of your savings to a scruffy man-child who played video games in the meeting where he was awarded the cash it took to ruin you.

Ditching the suit is fine. Playing video games during a meeting is a red flag, and not only because it’s shockingly rude.

What I find especially amusing is that it is described as if Sam was somehow a genius for playing while talking in a meeting. It takes literally no intellectual effort to play a game once you’ve played it a lot, it’s like driving or eating. Only thing it shows is probably a high level of uncontrolled boredom/stress/anxiety that had to get out somehow. Hard to believe the “experts” at Sequoia and co fell for it.

Back in my day you just had to show up to a pitch meeting in a hoodie.

Vc are always the first to take ownership of the success of one of their company but also the first to blame the founder when it goes wrong

"Success has a thousand parents, failure is an orphan"

(Quoted from Stephen Spielberg but I don't know where he got it from)

"This is an unfair thing about war: victory is claimed by all, failure to one alone." —Tacitus, 56-120 CE

Out of an Italian proverb... "La vittoria ha cento padri ma la sconfitta è orfana."

Normally attributed to Galeazzo Ciano, son-in-law of Benito Mussolini.

"If they win, I deserve all the credit. If they lose, I should not take any of the blame" - P45, this past week

I don’t think this comment applies here. They portrayed the founder in a very positive light initially.

Doesn't it exactly apply? They published profiles on their site and associated themselves closely with SBF until this week, when everything unraveled.

What does that say about VC's due diligence?

I'll answer. It sucks. But they had a leg tingle during the SBFs presentation when he said that his vision was for FTX app to buy bananas. So they bought in. Now to be fair all facts are in so maybe it went bad after so maybe controls were more of a factor than due diligence.

Are these the same VC's that, would grill, up and down, eventual founders on:

- The minute details of a startup 5 year out business plan, cash-flow previsions, the impact of currency fluctuations of their profitable horizon...but ...

- Would allow him to get his girlfriend as the CEO?

> Would allow him to get his girlfriend as the CEO?

Ellison was CEO of the hedge fund, Alameda Research, not FTX.

Also, while the descriptions of her in this and other threads as a "Harry Potter fan" and "his girlfriend" dovetail with the erstwhile HN tendency toward "it's so simple, everybody is an idiot except for me," I don't think their relationship was public knowledge until quite recently and until that point she was probably more likely viewed through the lens of "Jane Street alum and Stanford grad."

Which is not that different from SBF's VC friendly pedigree of "Jane Street alum and MIT grad," so given their relationship wasn't public, it's a bit unreasonable to claim she should have been the red flag.

Still, like who would appoint this person as CEO even if she was his girlfriend: https://twitter.com/stillgray/status/1590935414730534913?s=4...

And why did she accept?? She had 18 months at Jane Street and by her own admission knew very little about trading.

And really, WHAT were the VCs thinking ??!

The hubris.

No wonder. The last tweets from SBF has been lies. In particular he's stated that Alameda Research would stop trading on FTX. This is glossing over the fact that Alameda Research is a major liquidity provider for FTX, meaning that if they stop trading there, there will be no party to take the other side of trades anymore. With a completely illiquid exchange, trading becomes all but impossible and you risk extreme slippage as a consequence of it.

I think he meant theyd stop trading but keep market making

Or he just lied yeah

The head of an exchange would know that "Market Making" is a subset of "Trading".

The head of an exchange would also know the difference between "my money" and "customer money", or so you would have hoped.

For strange reasons, the archive link to that very interesting story was flagged yesterday:


Because it's essentially every variety of HN dupe


and is now on the front page twice. Flaggers had it right as is usually the case.

I think all archive links are auto-flagged, I guess as spam prevention.

> I think all archive links are auto-flagged


Plenty archive links not flagged. I think the hypothesis that archive links are auto-flagged is likely incorrect

Okay. Ignore then. Hypothesis proven wrong

to clarify, auto-flagged when submitted as top-level posts, not when submitted as comments.

Can someone please elaborate on the relationship between archive links and spam? Why is this particular auto-flagging done?

I don't think it's true that archive links are auto-flagged. I think [flagged] always indicates that it was flagged by a human: almost always a user, but occasionally a moderator.

Does anyone have evidence that would contradict this?

There are some things that are automatically [dead], though. Here's a post by Dan from earlier this year explaining some of the inner-workings: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30273707

The internet is forever: https://archive.ph/GQkCp

Also, the og page was 8.5M in size: https://ghostarchive.org/archive/J1VEL

But Internet Archive is not, so make sure you archive it elsewhere.

I don't get how the directors, councelors, and compliance people at the company didn't raise their hand. Jail isn't a nice place to go.

They were all inexperienced is maybe the most plausible explanation. There was reported to be no board of directors and the CEO of the related proprietary trading firm Alameda was only a couple years out of school with one prior year of work experience as an entry level employee at Jane Street.

I know some people who worked with SBF at Jane Street, and their opinion was that he was both very smart and extremely risk tolerant. And this comes from a company where people regularly bet thousands of dollars with each other on trivial things (one guy I know lost $10000 on coin flips at one party).

It turned out that FTX itself was just one giant leveraged trade, not the legitimate exchange business we all thought.

SBF did the kimchi arbitrage back in 2017, which also shows an immense tolerance for risk and a disregard for the exact definitions of rules.

It is interesting you separate "immense tolerance for risk and a disregard for the exact definitions of rules". You can be infinitely tolerant for risk but not at the expense of (some) ethics: stealing other people money. So, there is tolerance for risk and there is: your are a f****** plain (white collar) thief. We can also include the factor of being an American citizen which makes could make things worse in this case.

Yes, you can take huge risks within the law if you want, and if you do, have fun! You're probably going to lose it all at some point soon. Cryptocurrency/Web3 has had a lot of actual fraudsters and thieves, and a lot of them deserve jail time. Hopefully, some of them will get some.

By the way, expanding on the arbitrage I mentioned, the Kimchi arbitrage was a well-known trade and the big players in cryptocurrency weren't doing it for good reasons. South Korea's capital controls and anti-money laundering laws would make it very difficult to do legally without risking your other trading operations in the country. SBF was brazen enough to go for it (and risk-tolerant enough to carry a huge number of Bitcoins on his balance sheet for the ~week it takes for them to actually move) and it worked out well for him. In retrospect, it revealed a lot about his personality.

This is Alameda's CEO.


Un fucking believable.

Mike Judge should do a Silicon Valley spinoff, they don't even need writers at this point.

She's not any younger or more awkward than Vitalik Buterin and many people consider that guy to be some sort of boy-genius.

"Maverick boy genius that shatters conventional wisdom" is a well-established media trope, with decades worth of films and TV shows priming people into thinking that is plausible.

Women's stories as told in the media often come with a "unrecognized in her time" narrative that isn't quite as gripping.

Combine that with the hero worship common among the "college is a scam / audit the Fed" demographic AND their Dunning-Krueger multiplier effect of social media-based marketing, and you've got yourself a very distorted picture of reality.

Those people are just as dumb. Crypto attracts this weird sort of clueless hero-worshipper type, similar to the Musk thing.

I'd definitely say she is more awkward, though that doesn't matter if she's good at her job, which doesn't appear to be the case.

From what I’ve seen of Vitalik Buterin‘s stuff he goes deep diving into subjects and doesn’t leap until it’s clear to him it isn’t going to blow up in a spectacular fashion.

I don’t particularly care about what he gets up to but I don’t think he has any bad intentions behind what he does.

On the other hand, having an adversity to risk might be a positive thing if you’re illegally investing other peoples’ money.

Video has been removed.

Yes, but South America is lovely this time of year.

George Shultz! James Mattis! Henry Kissinger!

Another Theranos. How many until SV investors lose credibility?

Come on now, Elizabeth Holmes could only dream of having $420m handed to her, no questions asked. She came up in more hardscrabble times where the children of the rich had to first con former government and military officials to join their board. That takes work!

Madoff would be more appropriate. Most normal people weren't affected by Theranos.

I cannot imagine most normal people are affected by FTX.

Look up how deep the FTX rabbithole goes. It affects all of crypto and even influenced US politics.

Infinite, until they start seeing real repercussions like life sentences behind bars.

Why did Sequoia write this in the first place? Haven't seen VCs do that too often!!

SBF was investing 100's of millions with them. This is them uhm... offering him glowing praise.

But also there was material interest. Even though SBF was investing in Sequoia, he also raised from them, and part of the logic there would be it lends Sequoia's reputation to his venture. So they'd be quite happy if this fawning article triggered some media coverage of their crypto boy genius.

Sam already had a boy genius profile, and more positive coverage of him would plausibly have translated to better returns on their investment in FTX.

And I can't confirm the truth of this:


But apparently both FTX and FTX US were both hacked meaning the probability of this being an insider job just increased an order of magnitude or two.

He will get away clean.

"Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes should spend 15 years in prison and pay $800 million in restitution to investors defrauded in the blood testing start-up, U.S. prosecutors recommended late on Friday.

"The Department of Justice recommendation, made in a court filing, came as Holmes prepares to be sentenced next week."


Healthcare is regulated much more closely, and Theranos broke a number of laws. Also, she never absconded and faced trial. Rumours are swirling that SBF is no longer on US soil.

She is literally going to get house arrest LOL.

Based on his background he's going to get away with a light slap on the wrist.

No, he stole from the rich. They'll track him down and make an example of him.

On one hand yes BUT on the other he donated something like $40 million to Democratic Party candidates last cycle. 2nd largest donation.


But if we assume he can't perform similarly in the future - what reason do the Democrats have to help him now?

Yeah, I have a feeling they're not returning his phone calls too quickly these days.

You are so correct. Bernie Madoff was exemplary convicted and in record time. And incredibly almost all funds were recovered by pressuring his business associates, even when the fault of some of these associates was not clear cut.

unfortunately funds recovery probably not going to happen here.

IANAL. What's his defense?

He is already setting up for the "it wasnt me" defence, along with the associated "I am a victim too". Eventually it will be pointed out that they were not actually real banks or brokerages, just crypto ones, and the "its not actually illegal" defence will kick in.

"Gonna tell her that I'm sorry For the pain that I've caused"

It’ll also help to have real estate in UAE.

Unless Emirati or Saudi princes are among those fleeced, in which case bone saws may be taken out of retirement.

Unless the "hack" pays for the "property tax".

Crypto investors should not hold their funds in custodial wallets(i.e centralised exchanges). Sam did a great service to the crypto world.

As far as I'm concerned they've got what they deserved. Hopefully Binance'll show them the empty bag as well and finnally the myth of centralised crypto is busted.

Everyone that didn’t hold their Terra or UST in an exchange couldn’t exit fast enough

It doesn't matter whether you keep the IOU from a crook in your own wallet or at your bank, it's still intrinsically worthless. What I don't understand is what kind of sucker would still be willing to take them off your hands.

It's unfortunate that this is a lesson that is re-taught pretty regularly. I vividly remember this coming up when the Mt. Gox hack happened in 2014. Since many people are using crypto to speculate and day trade, exchanges will be the most convenient place for most people to keep their coins unless something changes this in a major way.

All crypto is centralized and always will be.

I worked for an investment company that lost a lot of money once. The first thing we did was go visit the lawyer, who provided great relief for my boss.

Basically as long as you haven't broken the law or the contracts, you're ok. It's no different from "I bought some stuff that lost money".

That's the defense. I don't know anything about that rather large caveat in this case, but for that old boss it was clear since everything was exchange listed and there were never any movements of money other than to the clearing houses.

> I worked for an investment company that lost a lot of money once

Losing money is not SBF’s problem.

Stealing customer assets to cover for it, and then losing those, too, is.

And tweeting through it, providing confessions to that that will greatly complicate any defense.

They weren’t running an investment house but an exchange.

Investments come with inherent and stated risks and if you lose money, well, you knew the risks.

They almost certainly broke the contracts at a bare minimum.

There's no need to talk about any defence strategy if there are no specific accusations. And by specific I mean specific: what is the accusation?

(Just to be clear, I am not on his side. I'm just pedantic.)

Securities fraud. SBF almost certainly misrepresented the company during negotiations with investors in its most recent fundraising attempts.

If his Twitter deception is anything to go by, he liked lied to investors about pilfering customer funds to bail out failed Alameda Research. Forget about lying, it's illegal to even withhold pertinent information when pitching to US investors.

The Bahamas is no safe haven. They will extradite. After all, his investors are in the US and those transactions are covered by SEC rules. Given the scale of the fraud here, this is serious jail time.

He could be saved by his political bribes, though, considering he's greased the palms of the current administration (#2 Democrat donator in the recent cycle) ;)

We don't know whether they misrepresented the situation or not.

But what we do know is that they had no Board of Directors and the level of independent oversight was completely inadequate given the sums of money involved.

If I was the SEC I would do nothing and simply remind investors like Sequoia of their responsibility to do basic due diligence. Because I really don't know how you can class them as professional investors given the level of incompetence.

There is serious money missing here (8-10bn) and serious connected investors that have been duped. I doubt his political donations will make a difference.

Best case scenario he was working with the cia and was helping them finance some of these donations or other stuff. Then they’ll arrange his disappearance in another country or the afterlife.

He's supposedly fled to Argentina. Probably just a stop on the way to his final destination

The aircraft was registered in Argentina, so maybe it was just pulled back as sbf can’t pay for it. But yeah, I’d assume he’s on the run.

I always wonder about escape plans when people are doing really dodgy things with large amounts of money.

Do you come up with an escape plan when you start doing the thing you know is probably illegal and will definitely get you in serious trouble if it doesn't work?

Or do you just convince yourself it's gonna work, because it worked for long enough to convince you that you're too smart to fail?

I think I'd get me an extradition-proof mountaintop lair if I had even tens of millions and they were squeaky clean. Because you never know, right?

(Or, maybe I watch too many movies.)

There's the case of Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president who fled to the airport in a SUV loaded with dollar bills embezzled from US aid, then realized they didn't all fit in the helicopter and had to leave half behind.

From all accounts this situation has moved far quicker than anyone expected.

There's tweets that say that CZ wasn't trying to tank FTX with his "I'm selling FTT" announcement but rather just wanted to fire a shot across the bow. And we should believe him when he says that this isn't good for him or the industry - because it really isn't.

And so in this case you have a few days to make a simple binary decision. Do you steal a few hundred million, bail to some country and hope you can live the next 50+ years without being extradited or risk staying in the US, being poor and spending the next 20+ years in jail.

Many people would happily roll the dice and pick the former option.

Of course you’d pick the former. You can’t save the world from a jail cell, and just think about all the people you’ll be able to help sitting on a cool billion, by the beach in a country with a no extradition policy.

It’s the altruistic choice.

We don’t know whether he was negligent or malicious. We don’t know also whether he was internationally competent (bahamas) or just imprudent.

Getting away is easy if he walks of the usa. If you keep a low profile in south america, pretty much no one will recognize him.

Fraud is one

sultry wood nymph

Fake it till you make it.

with a name like bankman...

Bankman Fried

Bankrun Fraud

There are some golden statements in the original Sequoia article: https://web.archive.org/web/20221027181005/https://www.sequo...

For example, Sam's opinion on books:

“Oh, yeah?” says SBF. “I would never read a book.”

I’m not sure what to say. I’ve read a book a week for my entire adult life and have written three of my own.

“I’m very skeptical of books. I don’t want to say no book is ever worth reading, but I actually do believe something pretty close to that,” explains SBF. “I think, if you wrote a book, you fucked up, and it should have been a six-paragraph blog post.”

So there you have it: Books are for losers.

I guess that explains a lot.

There are so many red flags in that article, and that article is coming from Sequoia Capital itself. I can't understand how anyone would have invested anything at all in FTX, let alone an astonishing $1.3 billion in Series B and Series C. Does no-one at these VCs do any form of due diligence (e.g. reading the articles on their own web sites), or are they unfathomably incompetent, or living in some alternate reality from the rest of us where everything is reversed (incompetence is competence, war is peace, ignorance is strength, etc.), or is there something else I'm missing?

They likely thought they'd be able to front run any issues. VCs don't invest to build viable businesses, they invest to make money. You can make a lot of money as an insider to a Ponzi scheme.

If you're planning on front-running any issues, I doubt you'd put articles like that (which publicly exhibit an almost pathological lack of self-awareness) on your website.

I was kinda thinking the sell to investors was that only the depositors were going to lose all their money and that suited the equity investors just fine.

But seems like even that wasn’t the case.

A decade of money printing left investors with more money than they knew what to do with, so they threw it at anything related to current thing chasing the next FANG (which by the way, hasn't really happened since the last crash...probably because the startup market is saturated). It was a good thing after the 2008 crash and we needed to revive the economy, but it went on for far far too long and now we have a bunch of overvalued/unprofitable/scam companies.

The corollary to this is that the average citizen is likely to believe that the average billionaire cheated their way into money. The recently passed prop 1 in MA is likely just the start of efforts to tax/regulate the activities of wealthy individuals.

Would the average individual be wrong about that? Is there a single billionaire who's beloved by their employees?

The costco cofounder James Sinegal is possibly the only one that comes to mind off the top of my head.

The dude who owns the company I work for is (probably) a billionaire and people who work here generally like him.

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say beloved but he doesn’t really do anything that would make people dislike him.

You're missing the point of VC funds. Due diligence doesn't matter, incompetence doesn't matter, reality doesn't matter. What matters is if they can turn their 1 dollar into 2.

Doesn't matter if that requires breaking laws(airbnb) or stealing from naive people(shitcoins) they will do it, full stop. Once you understand that VC funds are literally robber barons who grouped together and gave themselves a new name it all makes a lot more sense.

Investors were offered chunks of FTT token that would vest long before any company liquidity event, in addition to company equity. So they were also buying into a speculative directional bet with faster returns, that they’d almost certainly get to dump on the market when insider info hits their networks. Not sure what the original source is but it was reported by Barron’s today.

I guess that explains a lot

No explanation necessary. Anyone paying attention knew this was a scam. SBF used his well connected parents to start a scam company.

He created back doors in his accounting software to hide money flows.

He hired his girlfriend (Harry Potter fan in her 20s) to be CEO of Alameda trading and transferred $10 billion in client funds for her to trade like it was their own money.

Declared bankruptcy and resigned as CEO yesterday.

Late last night someone pushed out new versions of the FTX website and apps with malware in them and stole $600 million worth of cryptocurrency which may be all that’s left of assets.

Tom Brady was a big investor. Sequoia. Ontario Teacher’s Pension. So many more.




Wouldn’t the Alameda CEO’s experience as a Jane Street trader be more relevant than the fiction she likes?

That doesn’t change the larger story of inexperienced people being given money far beyond their demonstrated ability to manage it, but not listing it makes your comment read as if you’re attacking her for some other reason than her professional choices — like describing Vitaly Buterin parenthetically as a former Workd of Warcraft player.

Why is being a Harry Potter fan a pertinent detail? Plenty of people still like things they picked up when they were kids.

This is interview with Alameda CEO (Caroline Ellisaon) is bonkers. I would not trust her with $10 of my money at the dog track, much less $10B of mis-used client funds.


I thought this was one of those jokes people play on the internet. The two guys in casual clothes looking at her, a lack of acting ability, gibberish about investment... all points towards it being the beginning scene of a certain kind of movie.

I didn't think it was genuinely an interview with the CEO of Alameda.

The Harry Potter part is actually one of the few positives. The whole operation was a drug-laden clown show.

Hearing drugs for the first time in this shitshow. Care to elaborate a bit on this?

Thanks. That explains a lot.

Wow... that is a shocking level of philistinism given his parentage.

His own mum wrote a seemingly well-received book, and Will MacAskill, who he claims is his moral hero, has written three books.

Hardcore gamers don’t have the time to read books. Besides, books have no points, no special effects, other players and so on. There you have it, the philistines time has come. Let’s hope it won’t last too long

Wow, I'm really surprised. Of all the people who could make anti-intellectual statements, I really thought SBF was one of the last.

I get that many books these days are long winded (looking at you Nassim Taleb) ways to make a point, but someone absolutely needs to document all the thinking somewhere. Whether you read the whole book in detail is also optional.

But to generalize this much about all books is astonishing.

Plus he's a math/physics grad, aren't those books super dense with new lemmas on every page?

Being an effective altruist doesn't make someone an intellectual. They teach the boy-in-pond thought experiment the first week of any college elective ethics class. They hand out The Life You Could Save to all harvard undergrads in the first week. Locking yourself into a myopic utilitarianism that avoids all structural critiques seems roughly the opposite of an open intellectual perspective.

I think that the very very base level of EA (consider the relative good/efficiency of various charitable giving options; per-dollar things like mosquito nets save lots of lives) is not unreasonable, but the steps beyond are outrageous. You've got people saying that the only ethical giving is to AI organizations so that we either don't create the AI apocalypse or somehow convert all of our minds to digital form and this future benefit will outweigh every possible thing you could achieve today.

When people say "what use is the humanities" I just gawk at this new generation of tech billionaires who seemingly have developed very strongly held opinions about the social organization of people without looking at all at the prior work in this area.

Most EA’s are just donating to givewell(global health and poverty). The long termists are a small portion of the movement and ai safety even smaller.

I have followed EA for ten years and there is absolutely no doubt that its most prominent voices - Will MacAskill, Nick Bostrom, Rob Wiblin, Eliezer Yudkowsky, not to mention Sam Bankman-Fried - ascribe enormous significance to AI. I myself have yet to see a compelling argument as to how AGI is possible, let alone dangerous.

If you look at 80,000 hours' list of 'most pressing problems', AI safety is first:


Open Phil has donated $250m to AI safety according to its website:


In terms of volume of people, definitely. In terms of big thought leaders in the community and famous voices in the tech gazillionaire circles? They've definitely moved on to this weird new thing. And its clear that they are just making it up as they go along rather than engaging with any actual intellectual heritage here.

I wasn't really thinking about EA, more that the type of person who is brought up by college professors and gets through some quite tight eye-of-the-needle admissions processes tends to be the kind of person who venerates knowledge in its most venerable form.

skriptonit - polozhenie (slowed + reverb)

>I think, if you wrote a book, you fucked up, and it should have been a six-paragraph blog post.

Either his three books are really short, or they're one of his several fuck ups.

I think that is a inline response in the article to SBF's statement

> It’s just SBF, his family (his mother, father and brother are all in town) and close friends. A small team dedicated to fixing the world—via the magic of quantitative reasoning and the overwhelming force of goodwill. (...) It’s not worth the salt in one’s tears to be sad for the plight of the oligarchy—but there is a downside to billions. Reciprocity becomes difficult between the post-economic and the merely civilian. What do you give a man who has everything and wants for nothing? What do you expect to get? But within the inner circle at Apartment V—a community of family and friends united by a philosophy that’s almost Pythagorean in its rule—there’s no unit of account. Love is the currency. Love is infinite. And infinity is a problem.

This reads like satire. It's amazing anyone would write this seriously. Money does really rot the mind; not just the money you have, or the money you don't have, but also simply being in the presence of money.

I think the same thing when I hear about rich techbros discuss "longtermism", like it's a real thing and not something dreamed up in a overheated tent at Burning Man.

There are so many ridiculous sentences and passages in that article. It's not worth the cheese in our navels to tally them all, though they do not approach infinity in any way.

I wonder why it took more than a day to remove from their site.

Does it mean something ?

For anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the atmosphere, it's good to know that in the series B round, they raised $420.69m from 69 investors. https://blockworks.co/news/sam-bankman-frieds-ftx-raises-pre...

I don't know what those numbers mean, but those investors probably thought it was the funniest thing on earth, and they created history.

League of Legends player AND appreciates 2006-level Digg humor? Hire this man!

Can anyone explain what is special about this number?

420 is likely a symbol for cannabis. 69 is a paired sexual position.

The bit about him playing League of Legends during a meeting with Sequoia reads like something straight out of Silicon Valley.

Perhaps Mike Judge should be running a VC firm, instead of simply writing the playbook for future conmen.

Anyone who watches Silicon Valley and uses it as a blueprint to start a successful VS firm deserves to keep that money, tbf. That show is a straight up mockery of the tech world.

I think his contributions to society are far greater in the role he's played. More than enough VCs out there. Not enough clear-eyed interpreters.

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