Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has launched a scathing attack on effective altruism, a movement that advocates for using wealth and influence to do good in the world. In a series of tweets, Armstrong accused FTX of destroying a lot of value in cryptocurrencies and now AI, and urged every talented employee at OpenAI, a leading AI research organization, to quit and join a new venture by former OpenAI leaders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, if they create one.
Lack of clear regulation in the U.S. drives crypto innovation and activity offshore
Armstrong’s criticism comes amid the fallout of FTX’s bankruptcy, which has shaken the crypto industry and exposed the dubious practices of the exchange. Armstrong blamed the lack of clear and sensible regulation in the U.S. for driving crypto innovation and activity to offshore platforms like FTX, where regulation and enforcement are often weaker.
Founders should maintain control of their companies
He also called for founders to maintain control of their companies and reject the influence of “decels” and “EAs”, terms he used to describe people who are pessimistic about the future and want to redistribute wealth rather than create more of it.
Armstrong’s views contrast sharply with those of FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who is a prominent supporter of effective altruism and has pledged to donate most of his fortune to charitable causes. Bankman-Fried has also expressed interest in funding AI research and development, and has partnered with OpenAI on several projects.
The EA debate in the crypto and AI communities
OpenAI, which was co-founded by Altman and Brockman, is a non-profit organization that aims to ensure that artificial intelligence is aligned with human values and can benefit all of humanity. Altman and Brockman recently stepped down from their roles as CEO and CTO of OpenAI, respectively, to focus on other endeavors.
Armstrong’s tweets have sparked a heated debate in the crypto and AI communities, with some agreeing with his stance and others defending FTX and effective altruism. Some have also questioned Armstrong’s motives and credibility, given that Coinbase, the largest U.S.-based crypto exchange, has faced its own share of controversies and challenges, including regulatory scrutiny, customer complaints, and employee unrest.