The anonymous principal of the Pineapple Fund is a long-term holder of bitcoins, one of a number of people who have achieved considerable wealth in this way. Unlike most of the others, this individual holds the - eminently sensible - viewpoint that, after a certain point, the only real use for wealth is to craft a better world. Since the human condition, society included, is determined by technology, crafting a better world largely means supporting the development of new technologies that will allow us to overcome sources of suffering and limitation. In this context, by far the greatest cause of suffering and death in the world is aging.
One of the first donations made by the Pineapple Fund was a $1 million gift to the SENS Research Foundation, to accelerate ongoing work needed for the development of rejuvenation therapies based on periodic repair of the cell and tissue damage that causes aging. Another $1 million was added a little later. More recently, the Pineapple Fund has now given $2 million to the Organ Preservation Alliance and $1 million to the Methuselah Foundation, both deserving organizations in the same network, focused on advancing the state of medical research to help address the causes and consequences of aging.
The Methuselah Foundation should need little introduction for the audience here. It was the original home for the first SENS rejuvenation research projects, back when the budget was tiny and obtaining a five figure donation for the cause was a very big deal. The Methuselah Foundation has since generated the New Organ network of groups and researchers focused on tissue engineering, with the production of whole organs as a goal. Over the years, the foundation has invested in and incubated a number of startup companies such as Organovo (tissue printing), Oisin Biotechnologies (senescent cell clearance), and Leucadia Therapeutics (addressing protein aggregates in the brain). Those efforts have given rise to the Methuselah Fund, now that ever more venture funding is showing interest in the field. The Methuselah Foundation has less of a vocal public face than the SENS Research Foundation, but if you look at any of the activities and initiatives that take place in the broader rejuvenation research community, you'll usually find the Methuselah Foundation is connected in some way, behind the scenes. They play an important role.
The Organ Preservation Alliance is one of the more influential parts of the aforementioned network of groups focused on accelerating progress towards tissue engineered whole organs. Their specific area of interest is in the long-term preservation of large tissue sections. One of the important themes of recent years has been the meaningful signs of progress towards reversible cryopreservation, for example. If organs can be reliably vitrified and thawed with minimal damage, this will greatly simplify the logistics and reduce the costs inherent in both tissue engineering and the present organ donation industry. Being able to put an organ, donated or manufactured, into storage for the long term will change near everything about the way in which the field must presently operate. This isn't just important for the mainstream of medicine, however, as success in reversible cryopreservation will also provide considerable support for the cryonics industry, which is both vital and neglected.
The actions of the Pineapple Fund principal appear to be inspiring others in the cryptocurrency community to make donations of their own, and that, I think, is a useful outcome to see spreading through any community of high net worth individuals - or indeed, any community at all. The worst thing that one can do with wealth is nothing. There are any number of ways in which the world might be improved given a sensible approach to philanthropy, guided by personal principles of what is and is not important.