It's beginning to look like SBF (Sam Bankman-Fried) and FTX (crypto currency exchange) are going to go down in history as the biggest case of "philanthropy-washing" in history. So big and important, I've coined a new word, Philanthro-grift.*
The U.S. Department of Justice has arrested SBF and charged him with intent to defraud investors. The court-appointed clean up CEO of FTX told the U.S. Congress "This is just old fashion embezzlement, taking money from others and using it for your own purposes. This is not sophisticated at all." (<- that's a direct quote from Dave Pell's NextDraft newsletter. You should read it).
Here are the implications for civil society and philanthropy.
- FTX and SBF spent a lot on "philanthropy" - especially organizations aligned with #EffectiveAltruism. All part of his grift (alledged)
- If the whole crypto industry is a sham (as many think), what the heck could possibly be valid about crypto giving and philanthropy?
Crypto is bad for the environment, a sham of a financial system, and - at least in SBF's case - was part of a major grift. How do civil society organizations justify being part of any it? Really, takes philanthropy-washing to a new level.
Final thought - SBF's grift extended to political contributions (some public and some dark money). We need new rules.
*I also considered "grift gift". (Grift giving) Which do you prefer?