The billionaire founder and CEO of theFTX cryptocurrency exchange Sam Bankman-Fried has revealed he intends to spend anywhere between $100 million and $1 billion to help influence the 2024 United States presidential election campaigns.
In a podcast interview on May 24 Bankman-Fried was asked how much money he might donate during the next presidential election cycle, answering he’d give “north of $100 million” with a “soft ceiling” of $1 billion if he were to bankroll the person running against former president Donald Trump.
“I would hate to say hard ceiling because who knows what’s going to happen between now and then.”
According to the government watchdog OpenSecrets, which tracks data on campaign finance and lobbying, a $1 billion donation would break existing records multiple times over.
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The largest individual political donors are currently the Republican business owners Sheldon and Miriam Adelson who spent $218 million in 2020.
Bankman-Fried continued by saying the amount he donates is “super contingent” and “really dependent on exactly who's running where and for why,” adding it’s likely he would spread the money across multiple organizations.
“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 one of the most important issues to him is preventing the next pandemic which he thinks would cost “tens of billions of dollars.”
“The United States has both a big opportunity and big responsibility to the world to shepherd the West in a powerful but responsible manner,” and added that everything the country does has “massive ripple effects on what the future looks like.”
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Bankman-Fried has donated millions to politicians in the past contributing $5.2 million in donations to now-President Joe Biden’s 2020 election campaign.
He also backs the political action committee (PAC) “Protect Our Future” set up in January 2022 which to April spent $9 million supporting Democratic candidates.
Earlier in May the PAC spent in the range of $8 to $10 million backing Carrick Flynn who failed to win the Democratic primary election for the newly created Oregon 6th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
However, there may be a scenario where Bankman-Fried decides not to donate any money at all, although he thinks the possibility of that is “very low”:
“There's a world which ends up being close to zero if things just work out such that there isn't much I'm excited about.”
The FTX CEO didn’t state in the interviews which crypto related policies he would push for. Over at rival exchange Coinbase, efforts are ramping up in terms of lobbying for crypto favorable policies with last week’s announcement of a “crypto native” think tank, the Coinbase Institute.
It will publish research on crypto and Web3 to bolster the exchange's lobbying efforts. In 2021 the firm was the biggest spending blockchain company in terms of lobbying with over $1.3 million spent.