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Will FTX's Collapse Strand Scientists

Published by Slashdot on Sun, 20 Nov 2022

"Last week's collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX is sending aftershocks through the scientific community," writes Science magazine:An undergraduate physics major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who founded FTX and quickly became a billionaire, 30-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried began to back philanthropic organizations that supported a wide variety of science-related causes, most designed to improve human well-being. Now, with FTX in bankruptcy and under investigation for misuse of investors' money, his formerly flush foundations are suddenly strapped for cash and much of that work is at risk. One foundation, the Future Fund, was just launched in February. But by the end of June, its officials reported awarding 262 grants and "investments" totaling $132 million. It's unclear how much of that money has been distributed. But on 10 November, five senior Future Fund officials resigned and announced in a statement, "We are devastated to say that it looks likely that there are many committed grants that the Future Fund will be unable to honor...." Just what will happen to awards the Future Fund and the similar FTX Foundation have already made remains unclear. FTX owes billions of dollars to creditors and is now being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, according to The Wall Street Journal. Writing in an online forum hosted by the Center for Effective Altruism, to which the Future Fund pledged nearly $14 million, Molly Kovite, legal operations manager for the Open Philanthropy foundation, noted that FTX's creditors could try to "claw back" their investments during bankruptcy proceedings. If grantees received awards after 11 August, which is 90 days prior to the bankruptcy filing, "the bankruptcy process will probably ask you, at some point, to pay all or part of that money back" she predicts. That has grantees wondering how they will pay the bills. "Everyone is obviously really worried," Morrison says. Thanks to Slashdot reader sciencehabit for submitting the article.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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