Alcor Receives $5 Million Donation

Today's good news is that the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, one of the two oldest US cryonics providers, has received a $5 million donation. Like a number of recent donations in our broader community, this originates from an individual who has done well in the growth of cryptocurrencies. I think that this philanthropy is a sign of things to come; these newly wealthy individuals are, on balance, younger and less set in their ways than those who come to wealth via the slower and more traditional means. They will be, accordingly, more adventurous, more disruptive, more supportive of causes that have a high utility but are not yet mainstream. This is all to the good, I feel.

This donation is an enormous sum for the non-profit cryonics community - it is a significant fraction of the existing Alcor assets, near all of which are locked up to support the long-term commitments of providing for its members. Cryonics is just as important to the cause of minimizing human death as the forms of medical biotechnology more usually featured here at Fight Aging! Sadly, it is also far worse off when it comes to the available resources, particular in the very necessary endeavor of research and development, to improve the state of the art, and produce a viable, self-sustaining industry based on reversible low-temperature storage of tissues. I would like to see this state of affairs change for the better, and this donation is a sizable first step on that road.

I am delighted to announce that Alcor has received a stunning $5,000,000 contribution to fund cryonics research. Alcor member Brad Armstrong (A-3000), came to visit Alcor in November 2016. After a tour and long and fascinating chat, before he left I suggested that he finally sit down and sign the membership paperwork. We would provide the witnesses and the Notary Public. 90 minutes later, Brad was done and handed us a check, making him a member. (See? It's not as difficult as you think.)

Fast forward to April 2018. Brad's assistant called to say that Brad wanted to make a major contribution to Alcor for the purposes of cryonics research. When I called Brad, I was immediately reminded that he is a down-to-earth, easygoing fellow who wants cryonics to work and is eager to fund what he knows matters. Brad is an enthusiast of cryptocurrencies and an admirer of Hal Finney - the first recipient and early developer of Bitcoin - and an Alcor member cryopreserved in August 2014. The $5 million research contribution is being held in the name of the "Hal Finney Cryonics Research Fund".

On behalf of Alcor and the cryonics effort in general, I want to say thank you. But how can I possibly express those thanks adequately? With a gift of this magnitude comes the responsibility of managing and spending it wisely for maximum impact. Until the Alcor board and Research Group determine how best to hold and use this funding, I have moved it from Alcor's bank account into a money market fund. Stay tuned as we determine how to use this remarkable influx of funding to boost Alcor's cryonics research.

Link: http://www.alcor.org/blog/unprecedented-5-million-contribution-to-cryonics-research/

Comments

I think the money would be far better spend if it were donated to Organ Preservation Alliance (OPA). This year up to $ 250.000 are matched. And they try to collect $ 10 mill to build a research institute. Since the basic research aren't completed it would be wiser to chose OPA.

Posted by: Norse at May 17th, 2018 8:25 AM

And the meek shall inherit the earth.

Nerds unite!

Funny thing about crypto.... for a change engineers, techs and nerds are gaining financial power.

I like it.

Posted by: Mark Borbely at May 17th, 2018 10:13 AM

If he wanted to improve cryonics procedures at Alcor he should definitely donate it to basic cryoprotectant research at Organ Preservation Alliance (OPA). First we have to be able to preserve organs before whole bodies or brains. This irritated me.

Posted by: Norse at May 17th, 2018 3:10 PM

@ Justin : this is the second time I've seen this link posted. I have no idea what's interesting about this guy's monologue. Such maniacal, unilateral babble has little value.

I'm a SENS guy but wouldn't say funding Alcore is a mistake. The SRF got a well deserved infusion of cash as of late, so its survival is ensured for at least a couple of years. Meanwhile, there's still work to do on preserving organs and bodies. With its newly received funds, Alcor will have a role to play in advancing the science of organ preservation.

Posted by: Spede at May 17th, 2018 3:35 PM

Because of my irritatement I now donated 5000 NOK to Organ Preservation Alliance (OPA). Matched it is 10.000 NOK or over $ 1000.

Posted by: Norse at May 17th, 2018 3:56 PM

Spede i'm not sure what you mean by "maniacal, unilateral babble" other than a vague insult. It's an extensive back and forth dialogue with tons of discussion from Aubrey (who is a person of interest to the fightaging.org community, yes?). Maybe you didn't understand this. The quotation color scheme is explained at the beginning of the book, in the introduction.

Also I don't think Aubrey's changed his position that SENS needs more cash and urgently. Aubrey has said SENS could use a billion dollars ($100 million a year) to really get rolling. They're not even close to that. That's a catastrophe. Millions of people will die because of that lack of funding. $5 million would help.

Also there's discussion of Alcor and the various issues it has, with links as well. Short summary is they are amateur hour failures who regularly fail to meet even their own (pathetically low, unscientific) standards. They don't deserve more money.

Posted by: Justin at May 17th, 2018 6:09 PM

Damn I urgently need to make a couple of billion dollars and donate a huge part of it towards SENS. On the other hand about million donors of 1k could add up to a billion...

Posted by: Cuberat at May 18th, 2018 8:03 AM

I definitely agree with Aubrey...a billion IS more than welcome to the antiaging field. I also think that we should be bringing back a man from suspended animation ASAP. How much do we need for that? - literally trillions are wasted in so many unnecessary things.

Posted by: Jaime Lagunez at May 20th, 2018 5:16 PM

Norse: It looks like you have bought into all the critical things said about Alcor on internet forums rather than making a balanced determination. Doing cryonics right is tremendously hard for many reasons. Those who hold us to a standard of perfection (according to which every mainstream medical practice would fail) is irrational.

Your dismissal of the donation to Alcor is telling. "First we have to be able to preserve organs before whole bodies or brains." I'm going to let you in on a closely-held secret. ;-) A brain IS an organ. Also, how do you know that Alcor will not use some of those funds to give the OPA a boost? (You don't.)

Cryonics is part of a portfolio of life-extending options, and one that is starved of funding. If substantial life extension doesn't happen before you need it, you may change your mind about the value of funding cryonics research.

Posted by: Max More at May 24th, 2018 9:42 PM

The SENS Institute web page puts up a good show to suggest it's worthy of funds. Lots of people standing around wearing white lab coats, so we can see that they're scientists. My question is: where are the practicable results of the research that's been done so far? This isn't their first day on the job, so there must be something. What should I be doing, today, to improve my longevity? The web designer must have forgotten to create that portion of the site.

Research without actionable guidance based on the results, to me, has little use. Every day I read about some anti-aging protein being studied in a lab somewhere. Do you know how much hope I have of ever seeing a procedure related to that research? None. Why fund pure science? Just to satisfy the curiosity of a bunch of lab geeks?

Big pharma, for all its flaws, at least has a virtuous cycle going. They produce results, deliver the results, which people are willing to pay for, and the proceeds are used to fund the science. I have yet to see this being done by SENS or any other longevity minded foundation. Alcor isn't perfect, but it's at least offering to do something for me today.

Posted by: George Pitman at May 26th, 2018 6:39 AM

@George Pitman:

"where are the practicable results of the research that's been done so far?"

I'm not sure what you mean by "practicable", but their funded research results are here:

http://www.sens.org/research/publications?keys=&research_themes_tid=All&field_publication_type_value%5B%5D=1&field_publication_type_value%5B%5D=2&field_publication_type_value%5B%5D=2a&items_per_page=50

And more briefly here: http://www.sens.org/about/organizational-reports

"What should I be doing, today, to improve my longevity?"

As Aubrey always says in his presentations: give him lots of money. Today the only thing you can do to improve your chances is funding SENS research. Provided you don't harm yourself by smoking, being overweight, etc., that's the only real way you can change your life expectancy by a meaningful amount today.

Posted by: Antonio at May 26th, 2018 4:11 PM

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