Sam Bankman-Fried Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried could spend $1B in the 2024 election

Sam Bankman-Fried, a democratic billionaire, says that he could spend north of $1 billion in the 2024 election, which would make him the biggest-ever political donor in a single election.


Sam, 30, is the CEO and founder of the Crypto Exchange platform, FTX, said in a podcast interview on Tuesday that he is planning to give “north of $100 million” in the next presidential election and if former president Donald Trump runs again, his spending would likely be on a higher side, for now, he has a “soft ceiling” of $1 billion.


That kind of money would be "in a league of its own," said Alex Baumgart, a researcher with OpenSecrets. Sam is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion and says that he has already spent around $200 million on multiple causes, cautions that his political plans are still not concrete and that they will be dependent on what the election landscape looks like.


I would guess north of $100 million. As for how much more than that, I don’t know. It does depend on what happens. It’s dependent on exactly who’s running where for what,” he said on the Pushkin Industries podcast “What’s Your Problem.” “[$1 billion] is a decent thing to look at as a — 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.


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That amount of spending in a single presidential election would be unprecedented, and it would shatter records several times over — at least if it were all spent as so-called hard money, which includes donations to candidates, parties, super PACs and other groups who have to report to the Federal Election Commission.


It's hard to know how much other wealthy donors have spent to influence politics via so-called dark money, which includes donations to groups like think tanks and nonprofit advocacy organizations.


The maximum amount of hard money any individual has spent in any election cycle was $218 million in 2020, by the late Republican casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, according to OpenSecrets.


The Adelson couple has been the biggest donors in the country along with Democratic billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, who have each spent $75 million to $150 million in the last three elections (excluding the money they spent on their presidential campaigns in 2020).


Another Liberal billionaire George Soros this year planned to spend $125 million toward this year's midterms. Beyond those popular names, even mega-donors typically spend around $40 million to $60 million per election cycle, so $100 million would put Bankman-Fried among a tiny handful of the country's biggest donors.


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“If this is sustainable and it’s fully realized, it could have an immense impact on U.S. politics,” Baumgart said, comparing the scope of the potential spending to that of the Adelson couple, the Koch brothers donor network and Bloomberg.


The real question is does his spending bear fruit in the midterms? And ultimately, I think that will play a crucial role in his decision to keep this going or not,” Baumgart added.


Bankman-Fried this year has spent at least $20 million supporting candidates in Democratic congressional primaries who have pledged to push the U.S. government to spend on finishing the next pandemic.


Bankman-Fried is an adherent believer and follower of effective altruism, a utilitarian philosophy that encourages ideas like earning money to give it all away.



He entered the finance domain and started donating large parts of his paychecks way before he made his first billion, and he still lives fairly humbly, with roommates and a Toyota Corolla, to give away the vast majority of his fortune as he makes it.


However, his critics, raise questions about his motives behind increasing involvement in politics, noting that the Crypto Industry has been stepping up its politicization in Washington as lawmakers and regulators look to apply new rules to the unregulated industry.


Bankman-Fried is one of several crypto donors who have started spending a huge sum in politics seemingly out of nowhere, just as the industry comes under scrutiny. Also, his biggest political investment so far has not paid off. He spent at least $12 million backing an Oregon congressional candidate who ended up getting crushed in a Democratic primary last week.


In the interview, Bankman-Fried said he would "do it a bit differently" if he could do it again, but he fundamentally stood by his decision to interfere in the race, saying he always saw it as a low-probability, high-reward situation.


"If you're donating to political races that you think your candidates are 99 per cent to win, you're almost certainly doing something wrong," he commented because the candidates who are likely to win don't need the help. "You should be donating such that you think you have a pretty substantial chance of losing, and I stand by that."


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