In a one-on-one discussion during this year’s Camp Ethereal, sponsored by Decrypt, the renowned philosopher Peter Singer spoke with FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried on a collection of topics that ranged from the Russia-Ukraine conflict to how crypto affects the environment.

As an ethicist, Singer was keen to pick Bankman-Fried’s brain about the moral role of crypto in today’s world. He began by raising concern over the industry’s energy consumption. 

Bankman-Fried responded by saying that lowering crypto’s carbon footprint is something that “needs to be taken on,” and that current proof-of-work blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum were a “non-starter long term” because of high energy costs, which in turn lead to high transaction fees.

He also told Singer that alternative proof-of-stake protocols have “effectively zero environmental impact.”

We sort of have to end up living in a world where most of that scaling is happening through proof-of-stake systems,” Bankman-Fried continued, adding: “I think one of the most fortunate things is that that’s going to have to happen anyway. For economic reasons, there’s a lot of economic pressure to fix this.”

Singer, a professor at Princeton who’s written and spoken extensively about altruism, also wanted to know whether Russia could use cryptocurrencies to dodge sanctions imposed after the nation’s invasion Ukraine, noting that with crypto one question “often raised is, does this—is this—a way in which the criminal underworld can can move money, and be protected from that being exposed, or…


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