Amidst a financial crisis, the Metropolitan Museum returns a $550,000 donation from the defunct cryptocurrency company, FTX, aiding in the recovery effort.
Have you heard the latest on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s plan to return a significant donation to FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange that declared bankruptcy? It’s a tale of philanthropy, business turmoil, and unexpected turnarounds.
— CoinMarketCap (@CoinMarketCap) June 7, 2023
FTX, once a roaring crypto hedge fund, now finds itself in financial ruins. The company’s new leader, John Ray III, is steering the ship with a single mission – reclaim as much money as possible for the disgruntled creditors. A known maestro in asset recovery, Ray’s resume boasts an impressive stint dealing with the notorious Enron fiasco.
FTX’s efforts to recoup funds aren’t limited to business assets. It’s chasing after donations made under the previous CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, a figure synonymous with ‘effective altruism,’ a philosophy urging the maximization of personal wealth to maximize philanthropic donations. That’s how FTX’s cash found its way into The Met’s coffers.
In a surprising turn of events, The Met has decided to return the $550,000 it received from FTX. This decision follows intensive negotiations between the two parties to secure an agreement that benefits the struggling FTX creditors. The museum received the donation in two separate payments last year, a generous $300,000 in March, followed by $250,000 in November. Interestingly, the money transfer came via West Realm Shires Services, the operational arm behind FTX.US.
Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX’s founder, enjoyed fame for his commitment to ‘effective altruism,’ an idea that caught on like wildfire in Silicon Valley. Introduced to Bankman-Fried by philosopher Will MacAskill, the concept guided his hefty $160 million in donations in 2022 alone.
However, controversies surfaced. While Bankman-Fried was championing philanthropy, accusations emerged of him misusing FTX funds for personal real estate investments, political contributions, and supporting his Alameda Research hedge fund. When FTX’s token value plummeted, leading to a mass sell-out, the company couldn’t handle customer withdrawals, signaling the start of the crisis.
The Metropolitan Museum is not alone in its pledge to return FTX’s funds. Various institutions and politicians are also jumping on the bandwagon, contributing to a total of $6.2 million recovered since late April. However, The Met is yet to publicly comment on its decision to refund the donations.
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