Crypto Mania

Amidst a campaign for clawbacks, FTX is investigating payments totaling $6.5 million to an AI safety group.

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Amid its bankruptcy proceedings, the cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, has expressed a keen interest in scrutinizing the substantial financial contributions it extended to the Center for AI Safety, a nonprofit organization championing the idea that AI’s global importance is on par with the gravity of pandemics and nuclear warfare.

FTX, currently navigating the treacherous waters of bankruptcy, is actively pursuing detailed information regarding the sizable sums of money it previously funneled into the coffers of a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring the safety of artificial intelligence (AI). This organization, known as the Center for AI Safety (CAIS), has come under FTX’s legal microscope.

In a bankruptcy court filing dated October 25, the legal representatives of FTX assert that the exchange had disbursed a substantial $6.5 million to CAIS over the course of May to September in the year 2022. It’s important to note that this contribution was made months before FTX succumbed to the financial turmoil leading to its eventual bankruptcy.

FTX is now seeking the approval of a Delaware Bankruptcy Court judge to issue subpoenas to CAIS. These subpoenas will seek comprehensive information regarding any payments, funds, communications, agreements, or contracts exchanged between CAIS and FTX, its associated entities, and former executives.

As of now, CAIS has not issued an immediate response to the request for comment.

This initiative by FTX to investigate CAIS aligns with its overarching strategy to recuperate the funds necessary for repaying its creditors and providing relief to its customers, who were entangled in the chaos following the exchange’s collapse in November 2022. In a report published in June, FTX asserted that it had managed to reclaim approximately $7 billion but required an additional $1.7 billion to rectify alleged misappropriations of customer funds.

CAIS is most recognized for its bold statement on AI risk, released in May, which emphasized the urgency of addressing the potential extinction risks associated with AI, comparable to the urgency of nuclear warfare. This statement carried the endorsements of influential figures, including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and the esteemed AI pioneer, Geoffrey Hinton.

FTX’s proposed subpoenas encompass a wide spectrum of requests, soliciting the submission of various transfers, documents, and communications received by CAIS from entities such as FTX, FTX Philanthropy, the FTX Foundation, and the FTX Future Fund. Additionally, the subpoenas extend to individuals connected to FTX, including co-founders Sam Bankman-Fried and Gary Wang, as well as Sam’s father, Joseph Bankman, his brother, Gabriel Bankman-Fried, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, and former FTX legal representatives Can Sun and Daniel Friedberg, among others.

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