The bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX is on a quest to retrieve information about millions of dollars it had previously donated to the nonprofit organization focused on artificial intelligence safety, the Center for AI Safety (CAIS).
In a recent bankruptcy court filing on October 25th, FTX’s legal team stated that the company had provided $6.5 million to CAIS between May and September 2022. This contribution occurred several months before FTX’s collapse and subsequent declaration of bankruptcy
FTX is now seeking approval from a Delaware Bankruptcy Court judge to issue subpoenas to CAIS. These subpoenas would inquire about any payments, funds, communications, agreements, or contracts between CAIS and FTX, its affiliated entities, or former executives.
According to FTX, CAIS has refused to provide voluntary information regarding these financial transfers. The two entities did engage in a phone call in August and exchanged emails in early October, but the information sought was not forthcoming.
FTX’s efforts to investigate CAIS are likely part of its broader strategy to recover funds for repaying creditors and customers affected by its November 2022 collapse. In a report from June, FTX stated that it had managed to recover approximately $7 billion but needed an additional $1.7 billion to cover customer funds that it claims were misappropriated.
CAIS is perhaps best known for a noteworthy public statement on AI-related risks that it published in May. The statement emphasized the importance of addressing extinction risks associated with artificial intelligence, putting them on par with nuclear war concerns. Prominent figures, including Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, and Geoffrey Hinton, often referred to as the “Godfather” of AI, endorsed this statement.
FTX’s proposed subpoenas are comprehensive, requesting various documents, communications, and transfers received from FTX, FTX Philanthropy, the FTX Foundation, the FTX Future Fund, and from any officer, director, contractor, or employee associated with FTX. Additionally, it specifically asks for communications involving individuals such as co-founders Sam Bankman-Fried and Gary Wang, Sam Bankman-Fried’s father Joseph Bankman and brother Gabriel Bankman-Fried, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, and former FTX lawyers Can Sun and Daniel Friedberg, among others.