Conventional wisdom has it that one does not amass a fortune by giving money away. Just as conventional, if considerably more speculative, is the wisdom that financial regulations are sure to be the death of cryptocurrency and other next-gen digital tools.
But conventional wisdom has never meant much to Sam Bankman-Fried, wunderkind co-founder of fantastically successful crypto exchange FTX. And judging by his legendary personal success, having built a multibillion-dollar empire by the age of 29, there may be quite a bit of money to be had in bucking the conventional.
According to his recent conversation with Business Insider, Bankman-Fried attributes the core of his success to his philosophy of effective altruism—a belief that one has a moral obligation to use one’s resources effectively to bring more good into the lives of other human beings. To that end, Bankman-Fried has steered FTX to develop a remarkably cozy relationship with financial regulators, a practice almost unheard of in the notoriously cagy world of crypto.
Another notable divergence from the path followed by plenty of would-be crypto billionaires? FTX is made up of a very small team, with only two dozen or so employees working on its exchange. Bankman-Fried credits the company’s success to its small, close-knit group of hardworking engineers. Larger enterprises tend to “become slow and dysfunctional,” as he puts it.