FTX lobbyist tried to buy island Nauru, create superspecies: lawsuit



The Nauru ring road runs right around the island nation of Nauru.

(C) Hadi Zaher | Moment | Getty Images

Sam Bankman-Fried’s younger brother, who was a top lobbyist for failed crypto exchange FTX, considered purchasing the island nation of Nauru in the Pacific to create a fortified apocalypse bunker state, a lawsuit filed in Delaware bankruptcy court shows.

Gabe Bankman-Fried was looking at buying Nauru in the “event where 50%-99.99% of people die” to protect his philanthropic allies and create a genetically enhanced human species, according to the suit filed Thursday by attorneys from Sullivan & Cromwell, which is seeking to recover billions of dollars following the collapse of FTX.

Bunker life is a well-documented fixation among tech billionaires, particularly those who identify as doomsday preppers. There’s also a fascination with buying large estates in the Pacific and even owning small islands there.

In his years running FTX, the elder Bankman-Fried brother touted a philanthropic lifestyle called effective altruism and established the philanthropic arm with that in mind. Devotees of effective altruism work to maximize their income so they can give away their money in a fashion they see as most beneficial to humankind.

Gabe Bankman-Fried was FTX’s most visible presence in Washington, D.C., and was connected to bipartisan charitable donations that ran into the hundreds of millions. Along with an unnamed philanthropic officer of FTX, he considered buying Nauru, in part to foster “sensible regulation around human genetic enhancement, and build a lab there.”

A representative for Nauru confirmed the island nation was not and has never been for sale.

Nauru, with a population of about 12,000, is a little over 2,100 miles away from Brisbane, Australia. It was there that FTX lawyers allege the Bankman-Fried team sought to establish an emergency base for itself and a select group of “EAs,” or effective altruists.

In addition to serving as a haven in case of apocalypse, “probably there are other things it’s useful to do with a sovereign country, too,” according to a memo between the younger Bankman-Fried and the philanthropic advisor, which was noted in the suit.

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