For the full version of this essay, go here.

As you may know, Sam Bankman-Fried ("SBF") was convicted of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy. He now faces the potential of more than 100 years in prison.

I've been trying to figure out how someone who appears to believe deeply in the principles of effective altruism could do what SBF did. It has been no surprise to me to see that the actions he was convicted of are nearly universally condemned by the EA community. Could it be that he did not actually believe in EA ideas despite promoting EA and claiming to believe in it? If he does believe in EA principles, there seems to be a genuine mystery here as to why he took those actions.

There are a few theories that could potentially explain the seeming mystery. In this post, I'll discuss the strongest evidence I've been able to find for and against each of the three theories that I find most plausible. 

It seems important to me to seek an understanding of the deeper causes of this disaster to help prevent future such disasters. It also seems to me to be essential for the EA community, in particular, to understand why this happened. An understanding of the disaster and the person behind it might be necessary (though probably not sufficient) for the community to prevent similar events from happening in the future.

A few important things before we begin the analysis

In this piece, I assume that SBF committed all the crimes that he was convicted of. If it somehow turns out that SBF isn't guilty of these crimes, then some parts of this post would not apply (and you should consider most of this post withdrawn).

It's also important to note that the opinions I express in this post are, for the most part, informed by studying publicly available details about SBF and the FTX collapse, as well as confidential conversations I've had with a number of different people who knew SBF (some who worked with him, some who knew him as a friend). I promised confidentiality to these people to help them be more comfortable sharing information honestly with me, so I won't use their names or other indications of how they know him. I shared this post with them prior to publishing it to help reduce the chance that I introduced errors in what they said to me. 

I've also pulled quotes from the new book about SBF, Going Infinite, and from podcast interviews with its author, Michael Lewis. Lewis spent a lot of time with SBF (starting from late April 2022 and continuing into SBF's period under house arrest), so he had a lot of time to form impressions of him.

I also had some interactions with SBF myself, which I discuss in more detail in my podcast episode about the FTX disaster. The podcast episode is a good place to start if you are fuzzy on the basic facts of what happened during the FTX disaster and want to know more. I also recorded an earlier podcast episode with SBF about crypto tech (prior to accusations of wrongdoing against him), but it doesn't provide much information relevant to the topic of this post. My first-hand experience with him was limited; it informs my viewpoint on him much less than other evidence I've collected.

I am very interested in hearing your own arguments or evidence with regard to which theory you think is most likely about the FTX calamity (whether it is one of the three outlined below or another theory altogether).

Defining DAE

Throughout this post, I'll use the term DAE ("deficient affective experience") to refer to anyone who has at least one of these two traits:

  1. Little or no ability or tendency to experience affective (i.e., emotional) empathy in response to someone else's suffering
  2. Little or no ability or tendency to experience the emotion of guilt

For instance, whereas most people would experience a strong empathetic emotional response to watching a dog being tortured, someone with DAE may have no emotional response to it. And whereas most people would feel very guilty if they learned that they had badly injured someone by accident, a person with DAE may have no emotional experience of guilt upon learning that.

Someone with DAE may still have the capacity to be abstractly convinced that it is bad that others suffer (i.e., they may logically agree that suffering is bad or believe in a philosophical theory that says suffering is bad) and may still have personal moral principles that they try to avoid violating, even though they may not feel guilty if they violate them.

To be characterized as having DAE in the way that I'm using the term (which, for the purpose of this post, I'm attempting to define in a more precise way than the typical usage), someone wouldn't have to have a complete absence of such experiences (affective empathy and/or guilt), but they would have to have a very low amount of one or more of them relative to the general population.

It's also important to note the distinction between "emotional empathy" - which a person with DAE lacks or has little of (e.g., feeling the emotions of another person when you see them suffering) - and "cognitive empathy," which a person with DAE may be fully capable of (e.g., rationally understanding that a person is suffering when you see them suffering, and knowing what to expect about their behavior as a consequence).

Similarly, some researchers distinguish between affective guilt (based on empathy) and cognitive guilt (based on an acknowledgment of responsibility). A person with DAE may be capable of regretting having taken certain actions (e.g., because they think things would have turned out better if they had taken other actions) without having the emotional experience of guilt that most people would feel.

I believe that DAE is likely positively correlated with other personality tendencies, including: 

  • An absence or reduction in prosocial emotions related to attachment with others, such as love
  • Manipulativeness, deceptiveness, and willingness to use people as a means to an end
  • An increased frequency and intensity of anger
  • A dampened fear response (perhaps especially dampened in relation to the fear most people experience at the thought of violating strong societal norms, rules, and laws)
  • A sense of being superior to most or all other people

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone with DAE has these traits.

Ethics for someone with DAE

There is an important distinction between whether someone has DAE and whether they act unethically. Someone who lacks empathy and guilt may still act ethically because, for instance, they distinguish between right and wrong and care about doing what is right. On the other hand, a lack of empathy is correlated with criminality and causing harm. 

One way to think about this is that there are multiple reasons why most people try to avoid unethical behavior. In particular:

  1. Affective Empathy: They feel empathy for those who would be harmed
  2. Guilt: They want to avoid feelings of guilt, or they feel motivated by past feelings of guilt to avoid actions that were similar to those past actions that produced guilt
  3. Mimicry: They have been taught certain default behaviors that involve good behavior, or they may mimic others because it makes them fearful to stand out or seem weird, or they mimic the good behavior of others around them merely because of the natural social mimicry instincts that most people seem to possess (e.g., in many social circles, it is not socially acceptable to punch someone during a disagreement, so most people in these social circles won't do that regardless of their other traits)
  4. Belief systems about right and wrong: According to their belief system, an action is wrong, and they don't want to take actions that they believe are wrong (e.g., a Christian might try to avoid breaking the Ten Commandments even if they aren't worried about going to hell, or a utilitarian might try to avoid taking actions that cause suffering because they cognitively believe it's wrong to cause suffering)
  5. Punishment avoidance: They don't want to be punished (by others, by society, or by the legal system) for doing harm

People with DAE don't want to be punished and may still adhere to strong belief systems about right and wrong, so, like everyone else, they may be motivated by (4) and (5) to avoid taking unethical actions. They may also engage in social mimicry (though, perhaps less so than the average person, due to less social fear), so (3) may still motivate them to avoid certain kinds of unethical behavior. However, someone with DAE is likely to be much less motivated by (1) and/or (2) than most people are. 

So it's not that people with DAE have nothing motivating them to avoid causing harm or acting unethically, but they have fewer forces pushing them not to do so than most people do. With fewer such forces pushing them away from unethical actions, they are more likely to harm others, even though there are plenty of people with DAE who act ethically and are productive members of society.

I know a number of people who I believe have DAE. Some of them are good and work to make the world better. Other people I know with DAE are genuinely frightening (for instance, one of them told me that he enjoyed it when his girlfriend would catch him cheating because it would give him an opportunity to trick her, which, to him, is a fun game).

Theories of how SBF could have caused the FTX disaster

While other theories about what happened are possible (e.g., "perhaps one or more of the people he worked with did all the bad stuff, and he was just a victim, despite the conviction"), I'm going to limit this post to considering just the three theories in the diagram above because I currently think they are the most likely ones. If you think there is a theory that's more likely than any of these three, please let me know in the comments.

I also want to point out an obvious theory that is not included here, namely, the one that would be in the missing bottom left quadrant of the chart above (i.e., SBF does not have DAE, but also, he did not genuinely believe in EA). This theory seems unlikely to me because it would require a non-DAE-based explanation for why he constantly lied about believing in EA (even going back to his pre-FTX days), and I don't have such an explanation. For reasons that will become clear later in this post, if he didn't believe in EA (and was just publicly pretending to believe in it), I think it's likely he had DAE.

Let's briefly review the three theories.

Theory A says that SBF genuinely believed in effective altruism when running FTX, and he does not have DAE. Additionally, this theory says that his unethical behaviors were just the result of some mixture of incompetence and bad luck (possibly, though not necessarily, exacerbated by a belief in naïve utilitarianism). In this theory, he did not intentionally defraud anyone, though he was, at the very minimum, extremely reckless. This theory says that he was either so incompetent that he didn't know he was behaving unethically and breaking the law, or else he was able to justify his behaviors to himself (even if he felt very bad/guilty about his actions) via a naïve utilitarian calculus based on his guess that doing so would yield more utility in the world in the long-run for all conscious beings (compared to if he followed the law and behaved ethically). 


This theory seems to be in line with what SBF himself said about the disaster. As Fortune described it:

"I didn't ever try to commit fraud," Bankman-Fried told reporter Andrew Sorkin at the New York Times Dealbook Summit. "I was excited about the prospects of FTX a month ago. I saw it as a thriving, growing business. I was shocked by what happened this month. And reconstructing it, there are things that I wish I had done differently."

...SBF admitted that he "made a lot of mistakes" as CEO but denied that he used FTX's funds at Alameda.

"I didn't knowingly commingle funds," he said, arguing that it was a "failure of oversight" rather than anything malicious.

SBF went on to distance himself from Alameda altogether in the interview. 

"I wasn't running Alameda," he said. "I was nervous because of the conflict of interest of being too involved." 

SBF went on to claim that he was not aware of the depth of the relationship between FTX and Alameda Research, nor the sizable amount of funds transferred between the exchange and trading house.

"I didn't know exactly what was going on. I didn't know the size of their position," he said.

Theory B says that SBF has DAE but that he also genuinely believed in EA when running FTX and that his behavior and choices were guided by a combination of the two (a lack of emotional empathy and/or guilt, plus a belief system genuinely based on EA principles). While bad luck and/or incompetence may also have played a role (perhaps a substantial role), these other factors (DAE and a genuine belief in EA) played a critically important role in the calamity. 

You may immediately object to Theory B, wondering whether a person with DAE could (or would) ever believe in EA, given that EA is a philosophy about doing good in the world. But EA is a cluster of beliefs, and while one's emotional capacities and tendencies can influence what beliefs a person has, I think that almost any set of emotional capacities can co-occur with almost any set of beliefs. For instance, someone who is born incapable of experiencing empathy and guilt could be raised Christian, Muslim, secular humanist, etc., and, like most people, I think would typically continue with whatever belief system they were raised with into their adulthood. 

I will also add that I have met a few different people with DAE who seem to strongly believe in specific abstract belief systems (such as utilitarianism). Of course, they could be lying, but for whatever it's worth, I was pretty convinced (when talking to them) that they believed in these systems, and their behavior seemed to back that up.

Theory C says that SBF has DAE, that his DAE is an important factor in his behavior with FTX, and that he was only pretending to believe in effective altruism when running FTX. 

Basically, this theory says that he was playing a long con, presumably aimed primarily at gaining some combination of wealth, status, pleasure, and/or power for himself (and perhaps also for his close companions, although it's possible that his companions were also just a means to an end for him). 

In this theory, EA was just another part of that con. While luck and/or incompetence may have played a role in the disaster (perhaps even a substantial role), this theory says that he has DAE and that understanding him as having DAE is necessary to understand the calamity (and that his claims of EA beliefs were just a front).

Note that it's important to distinguish between having DAE and being broadly sadistic. I believe that most people with DAE do not actively enjoy harming people who they have no special negative feelings towards (though they might enjoy harming people who they feel have wronged them or who they think are bad in some way). 

So, Theory C (which hinges on DAE) is not a hypothesis that SBF hurt people merely because he enjoyed hurting people. I think that, thankfully, it's very, very rare to find people who indiscriminately enjoy creating suffering. Even in cases of school shooters and terrorist attacks, if the attackers express joy in hurting people, I believe it's usually because they view the people they are hurting as evil or lump together the people they are hurting as all being from a group that they feel they or their group was wronged by. So, if Theory C is true, I think the most likely explanation of SBF's behavior would be selfish motivations (along with indifference towards harming others), not motivations specifically to harm other people. It's a theory about DAE, not a theory about sadism. 

 

This is not the full post - for the rest of it, including an in-depth discussion of the evidence for and against each of these theories, you can find the full version of this post on my blog.

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28 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 6:03 PM
[-]cata5mo118

I think "theory B" (DAE + EA) is likely true, but it also seems like he was independently considerably incompetent. The anecdotes about his mismanagement at Alameda and FTX (e.g. total lack of accounting, repeated expensive security breaches, taking objectively dumb risks, not sleeping, alienating the whole Alameda team by being so untrustworthy) weren't clever utilitarian coinflip gambits that he got unlucky on, or selfish defections that he was trying to get away with. They were just dumb mistakes.

My guess is that a number of those mistakes largely came from a kind of overapplication of startup culture (move fast, break things, grow at all costs, minimize bureaucracy, ask forgiveness rather than permission) way past the point where it made sense. Until the end he was acting like he was running a ten-person company that had to 100x or die, even though he was actually running a medium-sized popular company with a perfectly workable business model. (Maybe he justified this to himself by thinking of it like he had to win even bigger to save the world with his money, or something, I don't know.)

Since he was very inexperienced and terrible at taking advice, I don't think there's anything shocking about him being really bad at being in charge of a company moving a lot of money, regardless of how smart he was.

There were clear ways in which he was really bad at things, but also, clear ways that he was really good at some things.  The FTX exchange is not something easy to build, and it's much harder still to make it into a successful exchange like he did. Seems pretty clear he was really skilled at some things, despite his big weaknesses. But I don't think it can be dismissed as just that he was bad at stuff.  Also, him being bad at stuff doesn't explain highly unethical actions that he appears to have taken.

I think SBF was bad at the same kinds of things that other high-functioning sociopaths tend to be bad at, e.g. problems stemming from

  • relative aversion to doing boring low-stimulation things (e.g. maintaining a spreadsheet)
  • conversely, a relative penchant for arousal-seeking / thrill-seeking (psychologically I think this stems from global under-arousal),
  • relative lack of seriousness about avoiding downside risks (psychologically I think this stems from lack of visceral worry about such things)

All the “mismanagement” examples that @cata mentioned seem to fit into those categories, more or less, I think.

For example, I recall hearing that high-functioning sociopaths in general tend to be terrible at managing their finances and often wind up in debt. I can’t immediately find where I heard that, but it is very true for both of the high-functioning sociopaths that I’ve known personally.

I've been trying to figure out how someone who appears to believe deeply in the principles of effective altruism could do what SBF did. ... It seems important to me to seek an understanding of the deeper causes of this disaster to help prevent future such disasters.

There's a part of my brain screaming "Why are you leaving yourself wide open to affinity fraud? Are you trying to ensure 'SBF 2: This Time It's Personal' happens or what?" However, I'll ask him to be quiet and explain.

The problem was that you should never go around thinking "Somebody who believes in EA wouldn't screw me, therefore this investment must be safe." Instead you should think "The rate of return on this investment is not possible without crime, therefore I don't know why somebody who claims to be an EA would do this, but I don't have to know, I just have to stay away." Or as I said in response to Zvi's book review

You have to think: this man wouldn't offer me free candy just to get in his unmarked van, that doesn't make sense. I wouldn't give anyone candy for that. What's going on here?

It doesn't matter why something is too good to be true. If it is, it must be a lie, and thus bad. Don't take the deal. In case it's not clear "taking the deal" can mean more than just investing with FTX; it also encompasses other sorts of relationships one might get into with SBF or FTX, like taking their money or allowing them to be a public symbol of you.

The point here is that understanding human psychology and motivations, especially where the human you're trying to understand might be trying to trick you, is way harder than just knowing what sorts of returns are possible on capital investments with given amounts of risk. You can try to understand the SBFs of the world in the hopes of being able to identify them, but why do all that extra work? Just don't trust anyone who says they can make you a 50% return on your investment in a year with zero risk (or comparable risk to T-bills) because every single one of them is lying and committing crimes.

Somebody who believes in EA wouldn't screw me

If they can steal your savings and buy 1000 anti-malaria nets, why wouldn't they?

(Just kidding... mostly.)

What, you don't think Plasmodum falciparium is a living being with a right to exist? Don't be such a humanity chauvinist.

[-]jmh5mo70

Is DAE a terms that is often uses withing some community or is that something you made to formulate your thinking here?

If it's a unique term of your for this analysis I'm curious as to why you chose that approach rather than using an existing term, like sociopath/sociopathic which seems to be both more broadly known and applied. (Not just how sure Healthline is in terms of definitional rigor here but https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/sociopath#signs) They seem to cover what you include as well as some other aspect. 

It's more specific than sociopathy.  Also, terms like sociopath/psychopath are problematic because people have a lot of associations with those terms, not all of them accurate, and so I thought it would be better to be more precise about what I mean and also to avoid terms that people have connations around.

[-]jmh5mo20

Thanks.

If you click the link where OP introduces the term, it's the Wikipedia page for psychopathy. Wiki lists 3 primary traits for it, one of which is DAE

Is there a specific reason 'affective' was chosen instead of 'emotional' in the naming? 

Is it also a connotation issue?

Why don't you just call it like it is: Narcissistic Personality Disorde - NOT this sugar coated definition titled "Deficient Affective Experience." The term "Experience" is such an overused cliché of a word that now it's getting used to describe a very serious and dangerous personality disorder. Are you going to tell an abused victim of Narcissistic Rage like me and thousands of others - primarily women - that their partners that physically assaulted them, verbally and emotionally abused them, was simply having a "Deficient Affective Experience?"

The reason I talk about DAE and not NPD is because DAE and NPD are different conditions, and while I took seriously while investigating this the possibility that NPD was the cause, I didn’t find enough evidence for that explanation, whereas I found a lot of evidence for DAE. If you think I’m wrong, and see significant evidence for NPD I’d be interested to see that evidence.

Not to say that DAE and NPD have nothing to do with each other, but they aren’t the same.

I would never say to someone who was abused by someone with NPD that they are merely experiencing the result of DAE.

To clarify, DAE refers to two very specific things: a person lacking the emotion of guilt, and/or a person lacking the experience of empathy.

NPD in DSM 5, as I understand it, involves: “the presence of at least 5 of the following 9 criteria: A grandiose sense of self-importance A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love A belief that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions A need for excessive admiration A sense of entitlement Interpersonally exploitive behavior A lack of empathy Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of him or her A demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes”

So a lack of empathy (from DAE) is one potential feature or NPD out of 9. Lack of guilt is not on the list at all.

This strikes me as a good post but it seems to be getting a bunch of downvotes. I'm confused why. Anyone care to explain?

(I didn't downvote, but here's a guess) I enjoyed what there was of it, but I got really irritated by "This is not the full post - for the rest of it, including an in-depth discussion of the evidence for and against each of these theories, you can find the full version of this post on my blog". I don't know why this bothers me--maybe because I pay some attention to the "time to read" tag at the top, or because having to click through to a different page feels like an annoyance with no benefit to me.

Thanks for letting me know

Glad to, thanks for taking it well.

I think this would have been mitigated by something at the beginning saying "this is an excerpt of x words of a y word post located at url", so I can decide at the outset to read here, read there, or skip.

Is the reason you didn't put the entire thing here basically blog traffic numbers?

At the top it says it’s a link post and links to the full post, I thought that would make it clear that it’s a link post not a full post.

It’s difficult to keep three versions in sync as I fix typos and correct mistakes, which is why I prefer to not have three separate full versions.

That's fair. I guess I'm used to linkposts which are either full, or a short enough excerpt that I can immediately see they aren't full.

https://twitter.com/alexeyguzey/status/1728549209949995299

Based on the full text:

Some readers may think that this sounds circular: if I’m trying to explain why someone would do what SBF did, how is it valid to use the fact that he did it as a piece of evidence for the explanation? But treating the convictions as evidence for SBF’s DAE is valid in the same way that, if you were trying to explain why the grass is wet, it would be valid to use the fact that the grass is wet as evidence for the hypothesis that it rained recently (since wet grass is typically substantial evidence for rain).

But a lot of your pro-DAE evidence seems to me to fail this test. E.g. ok, he lied to the customers and to the Congress; why is this substantial evidence of DAE in particular?

oh, FTX doesn’t have a bank account, I guess people can wire to Alameda’s to get money on FTX….3 years later…oh fuck it looks like people wired $8b to Alameda and oh god we basically forgot about the stub account that corresponded to that, and so it was never delivered to FTX.

This seems like evidence in favor of Theory A and against DAE if you look at those as competing explanations? That is, he (is claiming that in this particular case he) commingled funds for reasons unrelated to DAE. 

In November 2022, he also tweeted these statements

It seems likely he believed at that point that if a run could be avoided, he would have enough assets; so making these statements could help most customers, and not making them could hurt most of them, even if it helped a few lucky and quick ones. Not evidence of decreased empathy at all (in my view).

(3) There are multiple sources suggesting that he has a tendency and willingness to lie and deceive others.

Everything under this seems to fail the rain test, at least; very many people have this willingness, most of them don't have DAE (simply based on the prevalence you mention). Is this particular "style" of dishonesty characteristic of DAE?

(4) is actual evidence for DAE, great.

(5) and (10) For the rain test you need to provide a reason to believe most manipulative people have DAE. 

Etc.

For decreased affective guilt the situation seems to be worse: as far as I can see, no evidence for it is presented, just evidence there is some reported guilt and then

In the context of the large amounts of evidence for his lack of affective empathy, it seems more likely that the quote above is an example of cognitive guilt rather than affective guilt.

This seems to require a very large correlation between DAEmpathy and DAGuilt. Why couldn't he have one but not the other?

When I wrote the above, I was just going by your stated definition of DAE; after going to the page you linked, which I should have done earlier, a lot of your evidence seems to cover the facets of psychopathy other than DAE; you could argue they are correlated, but it seems replacing DAE with psychopathy (as defined there) in theories B and C would make the evidence fit strictly better.

Thanks for your comment. Some thoughts:

"But a lot of your pro-DAE evidence seems to me to fail this test. E.g. ok, he lied to the customers and to the Congress; why is this substantial evidence of DAE in particular?"

Because E is evidence in favor of a hypothesis H if:

P(E given H is true) > P(E given H is false)

And the strength of the evidence is determined by the ratio:

bayes factor = P(E given H is true)/P(E given H is false)

In my view there isn't really any other reasonable mathematical definition of evidence other than the bayes factor (or transformations of the bayes factor).

Applied to this specific case:

Probabilityiity(Lying to congress given DAE) > Probability(Lying to congress given not DAE)

And the reason that inequality is true is because people with DAE are more likely to lie than people without DAE (all else equal). 

"Everything under this seems to fail the rain test, at least; very many people have this willingness [to lie and deceive others] most of them don't have DAE (simply based on the prevalence you mention). Is this particular "style" of dishonesty characteristic of DAE?"

The question of whether E is evidence for H is not the same as the question "Is H true most of the time when E?" That's just a different question, and in my view, not the correct question to ask when evaluating evidence. The question to ask to evaluate evidence is whether the evidence is more likely if the hypothesis is true than if it's not true.

And yes, lying is indeed characteristic of DAE. 

Or to put it another way: in the full post you say

There is some evidence he has higher-than-normal narcissistic traits, and there’s a positive correlation between narcissistic traits and DAE. I think there is more evidence of him having DAE than there is of him having narcissistic traits

but to me it looks like you could have equally replaced DAE with "narcissistic traits" in Theories B and C, and provided the same list of evidence.

(1) Convicted criminals are more likely to have narcissistic traits.

(2) "extreme disregard for protecting his customers" is also evidence for narcissistic traits.

Etc. And then you could repeat the exercise with "sociopathy" and so on.

So there are two possibilities, as far as I can see:

  1. One or more things on the list are in fact not evidence for narcissistic traits.
  2. They are stronger evidence for DAE than for narcissistic traits. 

But it isn't clear which you believe and about what parts of the list in particular. (Of course, with the exception of (4) and (11), but they go in the opposite directions.)

Yes, it's evidence. My question is how strong or weak this evidence is (and my expectation is that it's weak). Your comparison relies on "wet grass is typically substantial evidence for rain".

[-]TAG5mo0-8

I'm surprised you didn't mention the Kelsey Piper interview, which strongly supports C.

"So the ethics stuff is mostly a front" -- "Yeah".

I do go into that - see the full version on my blog.

This is a tremendous over-complication of SBF’s motives

SBF believed in effective altruism, but had the mindset of a degenerate gambler when it came to came to taking risk. He think of his actions as defrauding anyone because in his mind he was going to take customer money, use it to make high risk crypto trades (which he was convinced he’d win), venture capital investments, and pay off loans thus growing FTX and make several times the customer money he spent. He didn’t worry about the risk of a panic run on customer deposits. Basically he thought he’d just steal the money gamble it win his bets give back the money before anyone noticed and pocket the difference

So yes he did believe in effective altruism but he A) thought his goals were so lofty the ends justify the means B) horrible approach to risk C) arrogance

I also just wanna say the whole idea of DAE is absurd, you’re literally describing sociopathy but giving it a nice sounding name. I’m not even arguing that SBF is a sociopath. I think he’s definitely narcissistic but I wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s a sociopath, although who knows I’m not his shrink maybe he is. Anyways stop giving age old things fancy nice sounding names

Edit: I also want to point out that if your goal is to make a ton of money and use it to do good in the world I think opening an off shore casino and marketing it to unsophisticated retail investors is pretty questionable. Like we all know crypto is a highly speculative high risk asset class, and it’s speculative to the point where investing in it can resemble gambling more so than investing especially for retail investors

Sam marketed it as a place where you didn’t have to know anything to invest well. In the add steph curry literally says “I don’t know anything about crypto and with FTX I don’t need to”

I’m not saying that running a casino is inherently unethical, but if you’re such a “do gooder” whose goal in life is to make the world better it seems like a overall negative contribution to society you know what I mean? Like for him FTX was just a means to an end, and I’m sure in his mind he calculated at “I’ll do more good with the money I make than the bad of encouraging retail investors to gamble so it’s okay” and that line of thinking is just so flawed. It’s very very rare that the ends do justify the means, that mindset has been used to justify so many atrocities

It just seems like a very odd Career choice for an espoused do gooder