Who Are America’s Billionaires, Anyway?

Who Are America’s Billionaires, Anyway?

Sam Bankman-Fried, 29, is a prime example of a new kind of billionaire. In 2011, during the Occupy Wall Street protests, he was a student at M.I.T., considering becoming a physics professor and interested in effective altruism, a philosophy that supports applying data and evidence to doing the most good for the many.

That led him to trading on Wall Street for a few years after graduation and then into the cryptocurrency field in 2017. He started Alameda Research, a crypto trading entity in California, and in 2018 moved to Hong Kong, where he later launched FTX, a crypto derivatives exchange that offers products unavailable to U.S. traders.

Today he is worth $26.5 billion on paper. He is not a fan of the proposed billionaire tax, which would tax unrealized gains in the value of liquid assets, such as stocks, bonds and cash. For founders whose wealth is tied up in their companies, that could pose a dilemma.

“I think my biggest worry is that, especially when someone’s stock ownership far outstrips their liquid cash, taxing unrealized gains would cause massive forced selling of holdings, constant churn and cause companies to decide not to go public,” Mr. Bankman-Fried said in a statement to The New York Times. “I think this could cause hugely negative collateral damage, significantly reducing the amount of innovation and taxable base in the first place.”

New York Times

2011: Student at MIT
2021: Billionaire. ($26 Billion)