Convicted of seven criminal counts in March, FTX founder and former crypto titan Sam Bankman-Fried now faces more bad news. Against his wishes, he will be relocated from a Brooklyn jail to a facility in California. He sought to remain in New York to finish preparing briefs for his appeal, which will be heard in a few months.

It seems hard to imagine that the son of two Stanford Law professors and ethicists, an MIT grad himself, someone who was rubbing elbows with presidents, congressmen, and celebrities only 18 months ago would ever find himself in a situation where his biggest decision was a choice between two prisons. But a lot of Bankman-Fried’s decisions seem to defy explanation—not least, his choosing to quit a plum job in finance, setting himself on the trajectory to become, briefly, the richest man in the world under 30. To understand his life, it is necessary to understand the philosophy underlying his choices: effective altruism. This outlook lies at the heart of Bankman-Fried’s successes—and, ultimately, his failure. 

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