Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and CEO of FTX cryptocurrency exchange, revealed he could donate up to $1 billion to help influence the 2024 United States presidential election campaigns.
“I would guess north of $100 million. As for how much more than that, I don’t know. It really does depend on what happens. It’s really dependent on exactly who’s running where for what, and these things are super contingent,” Bankman-Fried said in an interview on The Pushkin Industries podcast.
The 30-year-old billionaire, who has historically leaned Democrat, was among the top-20 largest donors to Joe Biden’s 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, contributing $5.2 million to help Biden clinch a win over former president Donald Trump.
When asked if he would be prepared to donate $1 billion should Trump decide to run again, the FTX chief said this figure “is a decent thing to look at.”
“I would hate to say hard ceiling because who knows what’s going to happen between now and then — but at least sort of as a soft ceiling,” he said.
According to OpenSecrets, a website tracking campaign finance and lobbying data, a $1 billion donation would become the largest donation made during the 2020 presidential campaign multiple times over.
The largest individual political donors are currently Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who backed the Republicans with a $218 million donation, and Michael Bloomberg with a $152 million donation to the Democrats.
Bankman-Fried beyond politics
Political preferences aside, Bankman-Fried also stressed that one of the most important issues is to prevent the next pandemic, which, according to him, would cost “tens of billions of dollars.”
“I think that I’m going to be looking a lot less at political parties from that perspective and a lot more about sane governance and ads for the things that I care the most about,” he said.
To him, “the United States has both a big opportunity and big responsibility to the world to shepherd the West in a powerful but responsible manner” since everything the country does has “massive ripple effects on what the future looks like,” added Bankman-Fried.
He recently donated over $10 million to support Carrick Flynn, a democratic candidate in last week’s primary for a congressional seat in Oregon, mainly because Flynn wanted to focus on pandemic preparedness. However, his candidate lost by a wide margin.
“I had a lot of takeaways from that, and if I would do it again, I would do it a bit differently than last time. But fundamentally, I think this was a well-thought-out raise,” he said. “If you’re donating to political races that you think your candidate is 99 percent to win, you’re almost certainly doing something wrong.”
Last month, the FTX founder said he believes that with early detection and a global reach for vaccines, the outcome of the next pandemic may not be as severe as the COVID-19 outbreak was.
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