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FTX Lobbyist Tried to Buy Nauru Island, Create Superspecies: Lawsuit

The Nauru Ring Road goes around the island nation of Nauru.

(C) Hadi Zaher | Moment | Getty Images

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

Gabe Bankman-Fried considered buying Nauru “in the event that 50% to 99.99% of humans die” to protect his philanthropic allies and create a genetically enhanced human species, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by lawyers from Sullivan & Cromwell, which seeks to recover billions of dollars after the FTX collapse.

Bunker life is a well-documented predilection for tech billionaires, especially those who consider themselves apocalyptic. There is also a craze for buying large estates in the Pacific Ocean and even owning small islands.

During his years at FTX, the older brother Bankman-Fried promoted a philanthropic lifestyle called effective altruism, and founded the philanthropic department with that in mind. Proponents of effective altruism work to maximize their income so that they can distribute their money in the way they believe is most beneficial to humanity.

Gabe Bankman-Fried was FTX’s most visible presence in Washington, D.C., and was associated with bipartisan charitable donations that ran into the hundreds of millions. With an unnamed FTX philanthropist, he considered buying Nauru, in part to promote “reasonable regulation of human genetic enhancement and to build a laboratory there.”

A representative of Nauru confirmed that the island nation was not and had never been sold.

Nauru, with a population of about 12,000, is just over 2,100 miles from Brisbane, Australia. That’s where FTX lawyers say the Bankman-Fried team sought to create an emergency base for themselves and a select group of “EAs,” or effective altruists.

In addition to serving as a shelter in the event of an apocalypse, “there are probably other things that are useful to do with a sovereign country as well,” according to a memo between the younger Bankman-Fried and an adviser to the charity, which was cited in the lawsuit.

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