Chapter 7The Asia Trade

The early days of SBF in crypto, the beginning of Alameda and all those many billions, are behind a veil of something like myth.

It's this story about the trade he was said to be doing in Asia, starting in 2017.

The story SBF told (one he even told me once) was that he graduated college and went to work for Jane Street. Jane Street is a 23‐year‐old quantitative trading firm. It's said to be a nice place to work. SBF told me he had been happy there.

If you listen to his version of this decision he always takes forever telling it, savoring the details of the options he considered and his game‐theoretical approaches toward estimating what would have the highest impact.

Here's what matters for our purposes: giving away lots of money well is high impact. He had already made good money at Jane Street. He was pretty sure he could make a lot more.

And the truth is, SBF liked trading.

In his version, he took some time off from his job to try a few things. When he first started going walkabout he says he went home from New York City to the Bay Area, where he was from, and hung out with the Effective Altruist (EA) community there. He realized that he really liked being part of that.

The Bay Area was the heart of the EA scene, in his view. He told me that he hadn't been crazy about the New York EAs. He found himself not showing up to meetings there. On the 80,000 Hours podcast, though, he said he liked hanging around San Francisco. And that's what made him decide ...

Get SBF now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.