Some of the biggest names in the crypto industry discuss their personal giving philosophies, how blockchain technology could change the dynamics of giving to charity, and which crypto projects are making a lasting real-world impact. Guests include Haseeb Qureshi, managing partner at Dragonfly Capital; Caroline Ellison, co-CEO of Alameda Research; and Arthur Breitman, co-founder of Tezos. Show topics:
- the definition of effective altruism
- why Haseeb thinks crypto is the best industry for effective altruism
- how Haseeb and Arthur differ in their philosophy of doing good
- why blockchain technology is less important than liquidity when donating money across borders
- whether Axie Infinity is making a real-world impact
- why Arthur thinks Axie’s impact will be short-term and not sustainable
- whether people should donate now versus later
- Haseeb’s and Arthur’s thoughts on how giving changes people
- what people working in crypto can do to give back
Thank you to our sponsors!
- https://www.givedirectly.org/unchained — all donations made here will be matched! There are $50,000 in matching funds available!
- Caroline Ellison
- Haseeb Qureshi
- Arthur Breitman
- Effective Altruism
- Code to Inspire
- Pineapple Fund
GiveDirectly is a nonprofit that lets you send money directly to people living in extreme poverty, and it’s now raising crypto funds to support a basic income program in Liberia. Just 333 dollars will fund a year of basic income for a recipient. This panel I moderated, which you’ll hear in this episode, helped raised over 900 thousand dollars which will support 27 villages with a basic income for a year. To try to get to one million dollars, I’m working with them to offer a special match for Unchained listeners. When you donate any cryptocurrency to GiveDirectly this month, it will be matched, which means doubled. There are 50 thousand dollars in matching funds, so if we use the whole match, that’s 50 thousand dollars times two, plus the 900 thousand dollars from the event, equaling one million dollars in crypto supporting a basic income for thousands of households in Liberia next year. Visit GiveDirectly.org/unchained, and our crypto gift will be doubled. Again, that’s GiveDirectly.org/unchained, and now, onto the show.
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Hi, everyone, thanks for joining us, and I would like to introduce Haseeb Qureshi, managing partner at Dragonfly Capital and Caroline who is co-CEO at Alameda Research, and Arthur Breitman of Tezos. Haseeb, I guess you could maybe give your views on effective altruism.
Yeah. So, I do consider myself an effective altruist, it’s maybe a less interesting answer.
Why do I consider myself an effective altruist? So, effective altruism is kind of a bundle of ideas, but the core of the idea is basically the notion that we should try to think scientifically and rigorously about how to do the most good, and it kind of points to the fact that a lot of people, when they think about doing good, whether it’s through a charity or trying to be impactful in sort of your personal life or your community engagement, most people, they approach it in just sort of doing things that feel right or that feel good to them, and effective altruism is a sort of framework of thinking about, sure, it’s good to do good things, but you should try to apply the same level of importance that you apply to things like, you know, business or to technology or to, you know, the things that we think are really important. We should take the same standard of care toward thinking and making sure we do things right when we’re trying to do the most good. That’s effective altruism in a nutshell.
And I think, to me, as, you know, somebody who spends a lot of my time working on really difficult challenges, I think helping the world and improving the world is one of the most important things that we do, and therefore, it should require the highest level of thoughtfulness and rigor around making sure that we do as much good as we can when we’re trying to accomplish that.
And Caroline, do you have an opinion on this?
Yeah, totally agree with everything Haseeb said. Yeah, I guess I’ve been kind of involved in effective altruism for a while. I think I first found out about it in, like, freshman year of college, and I was kind of like, oh, well, yes, of course. Like, this all makes total sense that you should, you know, be thinking about cost and benefits, and you know, adding it all up and trying to maximize your impact when you’re, you know, doing philanthropy, just like anything else, and yeah, I think, over time, I’ve only become more convinced, for the most part, that the effective altruism movement is kind of, like, onto something good, and we’re definitely still, like, figuring a lot of stuff out, and I feel quite uncertain about a lot of things, but I think, like, its goals and intentions are overall quite admirable.
Philanthropy is a wonderful thing, and a charity where you’ll be helping the less fortunate is a wonderful thing, and obviously, if you’re going to do it, you don’t want to be ineffective. So, you know, some think, you know, when you say effective altruism, it’s almost unimpeachable, but you know, if you go in detail, I think the movement is very, very tied to a current view of ethics, and I think it would reject utilitarianism as an ethics framework. I think that, you know, eventually, you cannot ground ethics in anything else but human intuition. You know, there’s no…you can’t derive ethics from reason, and so ultimately, the best thing you can do is get some sort of logic closure over a human created intuitions, and I think that deontology is a better match than utilitarian ethics.
So, I do think that you can be cognitive about it, but I would say there’s a tinge of scientism when you try to compute DALY on everything and try to compare things which I think are a bit incommensurable. I’m being pedantic here. I think. You know, overall, they’re very well aligned with their overall goals because saving lives is a wonderful thing. You know, this is more of a full disclosure in a sense of, like, okay, this is how I’m thinking about this. I’m not fully on board with the whole QALY, DALY program, all of that, but you know, I think these are admirable goals overall, in general.
Okay, and actually, before we continue, because it looks like Haseeb wants to maybe rebut or something.
Oh, no. No. No. Well, first of all, I don’t think that this panel is…
Well, wait, but Haseeb, before you do that, Arthur, can you just define deontology, because, like, you just threw out a bunch of big words, but I don’t know if everybody even knows what they all are.
Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, in broad strokes, you could look at three different principles of ethics.
Utilitarianism essentially tries to say, let’s do the most good for everyone. You know, pain and suffering are bad things, we want people to be happy. So, whatever action we can take that makes most people happiest is a good one.
Deontology is more there’s a list of things that you can do, which are intrinsically good or intrinsically bad, and primarily, you should not be doing bad things like hurting people. So, even if, for example, hurting people could eventually cause a lot of happiness, you should not be going out and hurting people.
Virtue ethics is know what makes you a good person, it’s more about intrinsic virtue, it might be your intentions, how you’re thinking, how you behave, not directly your actions and not directly their consequences.
There are many other sources of ethics that exist, but these are some main broad ones, I would say, and definitely there’s a utilitarian bend to effective altruism.
I would say a lot of people recognize themselves more in deontology or probably in some mix between the two, depending on the situation and depending on context, and I think it’s okay. I think it’s okay that our view of ethics might have some internal conflict. It’s something that we’ve evolved. You know, ethics is on a of truth the universe that we go out and discover. It’s something that’s intimately tied to human nature, and so, you know, to that respect, I would reject what Peter Singer is saying when saying, like, oh, yeah, you know, we reached the conclusion that everyone is doing something bad at all times. If you’re doing that, then, you know, that converts to what? You know, and sometimes you have to ground ethics in something, and that thing is human nature and not some external objective reality.
Yeah, so, I’m a little loathe to turn this into a debate on the philosophy of ethics because I think that can…you know, this is ultimately a crypto giving panel, but I guess what I’d say, as a kind of somewhat mild defense of effective altruism is I think, you know, crypto is actually probably the perfect place to encapsulate the difference between utilitarianism and deontology, because…
So, just to rearticulate, right, utilitarian, the idea is that, you know, as long as you get the right outcome, then it’s all good, right? Whatever you do, just get the right outcome, and that’s really what matters, and deontology says there’s something you should never do, even if it gets the right outcome, right? Like, even if it makes everybody better off, don’t do this because it’s wrong in some just deeper fundamental sense.
And you know, crypto is exactly the place where the way that we look at everything in crypto is through the lens of game theory, right? We look at the incentives, and we say, look, we don’t say there are good incentives and bad incentives, and this kind of incentive is evil and this kind of incentive is virtuous, and that’s why you should only give these ones. We say, look, the important thing is we want the protocol to be secure. We want miners to do the right thing. We want people not to get hacked. We want to create this, like, global property system, and you know, if you’re looking at that lens and that comports with the way that you think the world ought to be, the way that people design these crypto ecosystems is really kind of this utilitarian kind of effective altruist sort of mindset, which is, let’s design a system that improves the outcome for the most people, and in that way, I think, for a lot of people in crypto, certainly not everybody, but for a lot of people in crypto, this, you know, utilitarian approach, the thinking about what creates the best possible world really resonates, because it resonates with the way that crypto designers create these economic systems.
And of course, if you look in the regular world, nobody designs economic systems the way that crypto designers do, right? There is no top-down view where we write a white paper or where we, like, show, you know, we write these math proofs that show how we’re maximizing utility for every party. Like, the real world is full of deontology, right? The real world is like, no. No. No. You never do this. You have to give subsidies to farmers. You have to, like, make sure that you have, you know, a child care subsidy and blah, blah, blah, and it ends up being this big distorted mess of incentives that maybe get it right, but like, most of the time, don’t, and it’s kind of…
I mean, I think COVID is a good example where a lot of deontology stuff just goes out the window because you’re like, look, we’re about to die. There’s a pandemic coming. We’ve got to lock things down. We’ll prevent you from leaving your house. We’re going to force you to go get a vaccine. You know that you’re not allowed to work. I think the last couple years, and living in crypto I think is a good way to test your intuitions of which of those two sides you tend to fall on, whether you’re more utilitarian or more deontological, and I think, you know, Caroline and I are definitely more on the utilitarian side, Arthur, much more on the deontological side, but again, we could go…this is the oldest debate in ethical history, so we’re probably not going to resolve it on this Zoom panel.
Well, but I love how you related it to how, yeah, crypto networks, they only function well if the game theory has been designed right, right? So, to that end, I mean, like, so, obviously, we do already have some crypto organizations that are trying to do philanthropic things like BitGive or GiveCrypto, and so what do you think would be the best way to kind of like design these for, you know, whatever your desired outcome would be? And Caroline or Haseeb or Arthur, any of you can answer this.
Well, so GiveDirectly is a great example of this, right? It’s actually a really elegant sort of economic expression of how to make giving better.
So, before GiveDirectly, there was always a perception that if you just give money to poor people, they’ll go spend it on dumb things, right? They’ll go spend it on booze or just, you know, random crap, and like, they don’t know what’s good for them, and so that’s why the charities who have traditionally done the most work in very poor countries would be like, great, we’re a chicken charity, and we’re going to give them chickens, and they’ll grow the chickens, and it’s going to be great, and the idea is like, look, we’ll buy you books or we’ll give you clean water or we’ll find some specific thing, and we’ll create this really complicated supply chain to get it to you, right? And you know, generally speaking, people from first-world countries loved these kinds of charities because it’s easy to imagine, like, look, if I just give them money, who knows what they’ll spend it on, but if I give them books, you know, they’ll read, they’ll get educated, like, that’s wonderful, right, and so they send them tons and tons of books.
And you know, as was mentioned in the previous panel, a lot of times what happens with these charities is that, one, they’re very expensive to administrate, and there’s just a lot of costs that gets lost in the middle, but also, you know, a lot of times what happens is the people get the books or the chickens or the whatever, and they go sell them, because they don’t need chickens, they don’t need books. They need, like, this other thing that only they know they need, and you know, there’s this classic economic argument of why gifts are very inefficient, and it says you should just give cash, and GiveDirectly, it’s the charity instantiation of that argument.
It’s like, look, let’s assume that people are rational actors, which, you know, welcome to crypto, right? Assume that people are rational actors and they know what’s good for them. They understand their situation better than you do, and if they have a bunch of money, they’re going to go spend it on the thing they actually need, whether it’s like, their roof is leaking or you know, their kids or sick, or some other thing that they…you know, they’ll just go spend it on food, and it’s very difficult for us to anticipate that, but the people who actually are in need know exactly what they need, and so you should just give them money, and they’ll figure it out.
That’s precisely what GiveDirectly does and has demonstrated through their own randomized control trials, that they end up having more positive impact per dollar transferred than the other comparable charities that might just give people medicine or clothes or books without actually knowing what they, in particular, need.
And wait, but also what about…I’m curious about GiveCrypto because that one is obviously different. They’re giving crypto, and you know, hopefully this is not too negative of a question, but my obvious question is the people on the ground there, what if they can’t turn it into their local currency or otherwise use it, you know, then what good does it do? And I’m not going to pretend to be some expert on GiveCrypto, so maybe they have some way to make sure that it is useful to people, but is that kind of like…is the best way to effectively use crypto in philanthropy to just adopt the GiveDirectly model, but do it for crypto?
Someone else want to take that?
Yeah, I could say something. I don’t know a ton about GiveCrypto, so I can’t really speak to their model in particular. Yeah, I mean, I think, yeah, I’m not really sure, in practice, kind of how useful it is to give crypto to people in developing countries. I think that we have seen, as Haseeb was saying with GiveDirectly, that direct cash transfers are a great way to help the global poor. Yet, I also think that through crypto is potentially an exciting way to sort of democratize finance and to kind of, yeah, basically make it easier, remove a lot of the frictions that people experience with, I don’t know, banking systems, with, yeah, countries with potentially oppressive regimes, stuff like that, and kind of just, yeah, put people in charge of their own money. So, yeah, I don’t really know how useful it is right now to give people crypto, but I can see it as a potentially useful thing some day, at least.
Yeah. I would say the potential of crypto to transform things here is mostly more in terms of bringing cheaper transfers or bringing cheaper access to financial infrastructure overall, but you know, that’s something that has yet to happen or to continue happening, and so, you know, if the matter is making direct gifts, then, you know, if you expect that once a person receives crypto, they’re going to start converting it to cash to pay for whatever they need, then you might as well send them cash directly. You know, there’s nothing magic in sending it in crypto versus any other form of payment.
To add to what Haseeb was saying about giving directly, I like to compare it with, basically, it’s the index fund strategies, you know, of charity. You know, you could try to pick stocks and do all sorts of trades, and you’re going to end up paying a ton of commission, and a lot of people like doing this because they feel that they’re doing something, and they’re optimizing in sums of force, but at the end of the day, having no fee and just going straight to the point is a lot more effective, and this is the same thing, you know, it just cuts out a lot of the impression of, like, really doing, you know. Oh, you know, if only we do this and that, but at the end of the day, it’s a lot more direct and a lot more effective than most of the other interventions.
And Haseeb, you said earlier you had some thoughts too, on that question?
No. I mean, I agree with it, and I think it’s a good example of the effective altruist approach in action, but in general, you know, I think the question of giving crypto versus giving dollars, I’m not super familiar with GiveCrypto, but my understanding is that within GiveCrypto, they run these trials within, like, an entire village, and in that village, there are some money changers or basically, people who can facilitate the transfer of crypto into the local currency. But I’m not an expert, so I can’t speak to it any more than that. I think the idea is that it lowers some of the infrastructure costs to do these transfers directly in crypto, and of course, you know, there’s just a lot of people with a lot of money in crypto who can send money.
Yes, as we are seeing now in the whole NFT craze.
So, there is a question from YouTube that is probably relevant here to this GiveCrypto discussion where they were talking about the charity or just anybody who is giving crypto directly, is there a blockchain that seems best set up for cross-border transfers, particularly to poorer countries? And that is from Alexander Wonell. Do you guys have an opinion on that?
I guess, yeah, I don’t know anything about if there was something that would make that particularly the case. I would imagine probably just blockchains that are generally better, like faster and cheaper, would be better for this, as well.
I would say it’s less a function of the technology of the blockchain as it is a function of liquidity in the local markets.
Yeah, I was going to say, since Bitcoin is the most liquid, it would probably need…well, I guess maybe Ether is a close second, but both of those chains have, you know, high transaction fees at the moment. So, probably for Bitcoin, Lightning, and then for Ether, one of the…oh, shoot, I was going to say one of the Layer 2s, but that opens a whole other can of worms, too. So, yeah, I don’t know if anybody has another suggestion for something that’s kind of like Liquid but also less expensive.
Apparently, in the Philippines, if you play Axie Infinity, you can actually turn Smooth Love Potion directly into Philippine pesos, I have heard now. So, that’s super interesting.
One other question that I wanted to ask you was, I mean, so this is slightly parallel, maybe, to the philanthropic question, but crypto has long touted its ability to democratize finance, and I wondered if there are any ways that you’re seeing that crypto is already having the kind of positive impact that philanthropy typically aims for. Like, are there any particular crypto projects that you feel are having the kind of real-world impact that typically, like, charities are trying to accomplish?
I mean, I would raise my hand and say Axie Infinity is probably the most obvious, in that it’s kind of like a giant GiveDirectly for the Philippines, where, essentially, it’s this giant transfer from speculators to, you know, poor Filipino people who are playing the game, which, you know, I’ve heard, at least, I mean, I think it’s found out recently, but that the average Filipino who is playing Axie Infinity is making twice their average wage, which I think is actually quite high for a direct transfer program. So, it seems really good, but I’ve heard that those numbers are going down a lot because the inflation for SLP has hurt the economics of play to earn.
This is not a sustainable model, right?
Well, as long as people are donating, it’s sustainable.
There’s no value that is being brought to the other player as the presence of, like, the…it’s just like farming with crypto. So, it doesn’t really bring value to the other players. So, at the end of the day, I think, you know, in a transition period, these kind of transfers can happen, but then they out-competed away.
So, you know, it’s like, okay, this is great for the Filipino players who need this or for a while, but when I hear, oh, it’s a new paradigm, I’m like, oh, no, it’s really not, you know? There’s a lot of innovations that happen in crypto from a technological standpoint. Even new financial primitives have been invented, like smart contracts, for example, that’s an innovation of the crypto space, but it is not like changing economics. That’s a bit deep. So, it’s not going to magically eliminate poverty because people are going to farm gold in a video game.
And is there a way to kind of keep that from happening where, you know, the benefit just peters out, and it only ends up accruing to a small number right at the start?
You have to look if, you know, when they’re playing the game, are they making the game experience more fun for the people, you know? It’s like, when I engage with a game, you know, do I engage with other characters, who, for example, maybe played by people in different countries? In which case, you know, if they’re bringing real value towards the other players, like, making the game experience more enjoyable, then, sure, then maybe you have something sustainable, but otherwise, you are just talking about a transfer from late adopters to early adopters, in which case, it’s completely zero sum, and so, you know, no, that’s going to be sustainable. If you want something sustainable, you have to bring value in a sense of, like, those players are making the game more engaging, more fun for other people, which is not what’s happening here.
So, Axie Infinity is just one of, like, you know, a ton of crypto things that are happening in general, and it’s kind of, like, you could sort of say it’s new, I guess it took off kind of about a year and a half ago, but are there any other crypto projects that you feel are accomplishing the types of things that philanthropy tries to typically accomplish?
Well, I’d say one of the things that we see a lot in crypto is the attempt to fund public goods, because, of course, you know, traditionally, the way that public goods are funded is through the government, because the whole point of calling something a public good is that it’s for the public, meaning that, you know, no individual private actor takes on most of the benefit from a public good. So, it’s very hard to have these be provided by just people doing their own thing in the marketplace.
And of course, crypto doesn’t have governments. I mean, it sort of has DAOs and foundations which sort of like pseudo-governments, and as a result, there has been a lot of experimentation among these DAOs and foundations and even more informal organizations than that, to try to solve for the problem of how do we solve public goods.
Now, most of these are constrained to the public goods with a particular ecosystem, and of course, like, most of the people who are in the global poor who have the most need for help around the world, they’re not hanging around on blockchains right now, and so you’re not going to find them, you know, on Bitcoin or on Tezos or on any of these platforms, and so it’s probably the wrong place to look for them right now.
In the same way, you know, you can think of the early internet. Eventually, everybody found their way to the internet and found it really valuable and almost, you know, there are, what, 4 or 5 billion people now who are online? So, tons and tons of people in the world, including the global poor, use the internet, but it took awhile for them to get on, and I think you probably see the same trajectory or crypto.
Looking to the early adopters for crypto as a place to try to, you know, engage in philanthropy, especially if you’re treating the global poor, that’s not the only form of philanthropy, you know, it’s not the right place to go looking for them.
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All right. Well, so here we are at this moment in time where, as we all know, crypto has changed the fortunes of kind of a new generational of people. You know, there are a lot of youngsters out there who suddenly find themselves incredibly wealthy from whatever it might be, selling NFTs, or it can be older people who, you know, got in on Ethereum or Bitcoin in the early days, whatever it might be.
A lot of these people, I think, are trying to think about how to get back. You guys might remember back in 2017, we had that anonymous Bitcoin person who donated 86 million dollars, which they called the Pineapple Fund. How should people in crypto be thinking about how best to donate their money? Are there, like, particular frameworks that you think are useful? And obviously, there are certain considerations, like taxes and stuff that’ll probably come into play here.
Yeah. I can respond, I guess. Yeah. I mean, I think it’s a really hard question, and it’s something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and still feel very uncertain about
and plan to spend a lot more time.
I mean, I think one sort of question is I guess donating now versus later is a big one where it’s kind of the options of donating it now or investing and donating it later, and yeah, to answer that, you have to sort of think about what sort of return on capital you’re getting from your investments at the moment and what sort of returns you might expect to be getting from charities, and you know, how uncertain you are about charity and how much you think you might change your mind about what the best charities are in the future.
Yeah, and in terms of actually sort of thinking about places to donate, I think, like, it has to start largely with thinking about what you value and like, you know, do I value reducing the suffering of people, or I don’t know, empowering people, or people in our country or other countries, or animals, people in the future, kind of, yeah, think about that’s most important to you and all that.
And then, I think there are various organizations and people who have done a lot of looking into charities in trying to determine their effectiveness. I think GiveWell is, like, a good charity evaluator for looking at some global health and global poverty interventions. I think a lot of, like, people in effective altruism, like Centre for Effective Altruism, have kind of like more sort of broad recommendations, as well.
The one thing that I would say, which I think maybe is not, you know, a complete capitulation of Caroline’s point, is that I do think that you should have a very strong bias toward giving now as opposed to giving later. I think a lot of people have this belief that, okay, I’m going to kind of go Bill Gates style. I’m going to, like, make a bunch of money, and then, you know, at some point in the future, I’ll know that I’ve made enough money, which, for a lot o people in crypto is, you know, it’s like, there’s never enough money, but I can imagine when they started, they were like, oh, I’ll just make a couple million and that’ll be enough, and then, you know, I’ll be happy.
So, one thing that I think probably all of us who’ve been in the space, you know, the three of us in this panel have been very fortunate that we’ve done very well in crypto, and we know a lot of people who’ve done extremely well in crypto, and the one thing that’s really obvious is that there is no special amount of money that’s going to make you happy. Happiness is just totally orthogonal from how much money you make, and when you realize that, the other thing you realize is it that what you do, especially with respect to giving, also changes who you are.
It really does affect, over the next 5 to 10 years of your life, if you try to go, I’ll call it Bill Gates style of, okay, I’m going to make as much money as I possibly can and then, when I’m 55 and I need to repair my reputation, then I’ll go start giving it all away, and I think it’s sort of much better for the person who you become in the process of that for you to give along the way, because I think it’s a little bit of a fallacy to think that even if when you are kind of young and bright-eyed and kind of at the early stages of your career, if you believe, yeah, yeah, when I make all this money, I’m going to go give it away and be this awesome person, but not right now, there’s a good chance that by the time you make all that money, you’re not going to be that awesome person anymore.
And that’s why I think it is actually really important just to kind of maintain your own virtue as a human being, to give along the way, even if it’s not crazy, fifty percent, you know, a huge amount of money, but just keep giving along the way and keep thinking actively about how to make your life about something bigger than just yourself.
The way I would approach it is I would say don’t give out of a sense of duty. Give because there’s change you want to see in the world and hopefully it’s positive change, and think about, you know, what is the change you want to see in the world and how can you enact it with giving.
And you know, to one of the points that was made in your panel, very quickly you reach a level where you lifestyle is not going to change that much with more money, and so there’s been a positive change, I would say, in the world, which is that a lot of Western people used to buy these silly positional goods, like buying and in some sense, philanthropy has become…I mean, it started in the 19th century, but more and more it has become a positional good that people spend on. It’s more about self-actualization, it’s about saying, okay, this is the change I’m going to make, I’m going to eradicate this disease, or I’m going to make sure that people don’t go hungry, or this is the change I want to make, and I would say that’s a…I would recommend approaching it through this lens rather than the lens of saying, what is my duty, what do I have to do? I think it’s the healthier attitude, but at the end of the day, it might lead you in the same direction anyway.
All right. So, we only have a few minutes left. I’m going to ask one question that actually came through in the suggestions that were pre-submitted, and I think I tweaked this to have my own take, but somebody asked how NGOs and DAOs could work together, which I thought was interesting, but then it had me thinking, I wonder if NGOs kind of maybe are the sort of intermediary that crypto is trying to eliminate. So, you know, how would you figure out if an NGO kind of is part of a bureaucratic problem or if they’re actually the on-the-ground experts who know better what to do with the money than a crypto person might? So, I’m curious how you think of that.
Well, at the expense of monopolizing the conversations, I’ll go ahead and give my thoughts here.
I think asking the question of, like, are NGOs good and do they belong in the future vision of the world where DAOs are a huge thing, it’s almost like asking, do companies belong, which is like, NGOs are just such a broad category. Like, there are so many different kinds of NGOs and some of them are boring intermediaries who just kind of get in the way, and others of them are fantastic and they do the on-the-ground work, and they are the sort of last mile, which a DAO almost by definition cannot be because DAOs are not physical, they’re not physically located anywhere, at least so far.
So, I think if anything, it seems like there’s a natural cooperation that can happen between DAOs and…DAOs as a way of digital coordination of human beings and of capital, whereas NGOs, I think at their best are ways to sort of tap into local knowledge and know-how and build local infrastructure in a way that requires you to be local, right? Like, NGOs, almost by definition, are in a certain place. They’re a non-governmental organization in a certain country, not associated with that government, and some of them are great and some of them are awful. The same as DAOs. There’s some awful DAOs and some great ones.
I do think hopefully we see fewer or leaner organizations involved. To the point that Haseeb was making earlier, at the end of the day, a lot of people know best what they need, and you know, if you give them cash and they know how to use it, then still you might still have some sort of organization involved, and that might be an NGO on the last mile to distribute it, but I would say the amount of managerial overhead or discretion that’s involved in these organizations can be a lot smaller than it is today.
Okay. So, we’re going to close out. We have one minute, so try to think of something quickly, off the top of your head, but this question came in from YouTube from James Hartley. He asks, for people working in the crypto industry looking to move into a more impactful/altruistic role or company, what advice or opportunities or projects would you share? So, looking for, you know, one word to one sentence answers.
Go work for FTX. Right, Caroline?
Yeah. Great answer. Yeah, or come work for Alameda.
There’s two ways you can do it, and again, I’m going to use some weird terminology here. You know, you can earn to give, so try to get a very high-paying job and give a bunch of money, and for some people, that might be the most effective thing to do. But if you directly and through your work want to enact change, there are millions of better things you can do than work in crypto. You know, and I love crypto and I love this industry and everything about it, but you know, you’ll save more lives working on, I don’t know, better ways of fixing nitrogen to plants, you know, the impact, or even self-driving cars. Like, the impact is just a lot more massive, and I say this, you know, thinking that there’s so much good that you need to do in life, like going to work for crypto exchange is not it. I’m sorry. With all respect and love for FTX, it’s just…no.
I had a feeling Arthur was going to go in that direction. So, I’m not a panelist, but I will say, I did mention a couple of the groups that are working in this area that give crypto. There are others that are more focused in one area, I featured some of them in my show. Like Code to Inspire, founded by Fereshteh Forough, they do coding academies for girls in Afghanistan and they accept crypto and teach their students to code Solidity and things like that, so you can check them out. I’m blanking on some of the names of the other ones that have been on my show, but you can actually just maybe scroll through unchainedpodcast.com and kind of try to see what are some of the more on the ground type organizations that are working.
Otherwise, this has been a super fun panel. You know, it’s like a really important topic, but I’m glad we were also able to have a bit of spicy takes on both sides, so thank you so much to all of you panelists.