Metropolitan Museum of Art to Return $550,000 in FTX Donations

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will return the $550,000 that FTX, the now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange and crypto hedge fund, donated to the museum in 2022.

FTX has been making efforts to recover as much money as possible under its new CEO John Ray III in order to get creditors at least some portion of their money back. Ray III is an expert in asset recovery from failed corporations; he handled Enron in its final moments. This has meant hunting down the many donations FTX’s former CEO and founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, made while he was at the helm.

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“The Met wishes to return the Donations to the FTX Debtors, and the FTX Debtors and the Met have engaged in good faith, arm’s length negotiations concerning the return of the Donations,” read a motion filed by FTX Trading Ltd. on Friday.

The Met received donations in two lump sums, $300,000 in March of 2022 and then $250,000 in November. The money was sent by West Realm Shires Services which operated FTX.US.

Bankman-Fried became famous for his commitment to “effective altruism,” a philosophical and social movement that aimed to find a research-aided way to make philanthropic decisions. The movement became popular with Silicon Valley types, with Bankman-Fried introduced to the idea that he should make as much money as possible so he could give a lot of it away (“earning to give”) by Will MacAskill, a philosopher who was teaching at MIT while Bankman-Fried was an undergraduate there.

In 2022, Bankman-Fried’s Future Fund, helmed by MacAskill, gave out $160 million in donations. At the same time, Bankman-Fried was allegedly using FTX funds to buy real estate, make political contributions, and support his Alameda Research hedge fund. Then, when the FTX token, FTT, suddenly dropped in value, prompting a sell-out, FTX did not have the money to process withdrawals for their customers.

Once FTX went through its crisis, he told Vox journalist Kelsey Piper, speaking of effective altruism, “I feel bad for those who get fucked by it, by this dumb woke game westerners play where we say all the right shibboleths and so everyone likes us.”

According to Decrypt, a variety of institutions and politicians have agreed to send back FTX donated funds, with $6.2 million recovered since late April.

A spokesperson for the Met did not respond to request for comment.


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