How Much Funding Does the Methuselah Foundation Now Have as a Result of Vitalik Buterin's Donation?

The Methuselah Foundation is one of the formative non-profits focused on achieving progress towards the foreseeable technologies of human rejuvenation. The foundation was the original home of the first SENS research programs before they were spun out into the SENS Research Foundation, and is now focused on an eclectic range of activities that prominently features support for tissue engineering, as well as the formation of an investment fund for longevity industry startups, among other programs.

Vitalik Buterin, who founded the Ethereum blockchain initiative, and has become a high net worth philanthropist as a result, recently made a sizable gift of cryptocurrency to the Methuselah Foundation. Buterin has spoken publicly in support of rejuvenation therapies as an important goal for medical development, and this is the latest and largest in his donations in this space. When I noted this last week, I only mentioned the value of the Ether (ETH) that was donated, somewhere north of $2 million at the time of reporting, and not the very much larger amount of the Dogelon currency (ELON). I also said that I was not going to explain any of the general weirdness that comes along with the cryptocurrency space and events therein. Not my circus! However, if one wants to try to answer the question of how much funding the Methuselah Foundation now has, some explanation will be necessary.

It is easy to create a new cryptocurrency. There are a lot of them. Many of these are created as a joke, an act of Dadaist art, a get rich quick scheme, an altruistic cause, or some combination of all of these. It is also usually quite easy to convert ownership cryptocurrency A into ownership in cryptocurrency B, so all of the economic activity in the big currencies has a way of spilling over into the small ones, even the jokes. To the extent that the existence of Bitcoin and Ethereum is solving someone's large set of problems (such as, cynically, how to export funds from China), there will be traffic and value in currencies like Dogelon, which appears to have been created as, in essence, an altruistic joke, with a little of Dada thrown in by choosing to burn tokens by giving them to Vitalik Buterin rather than a null entity. Buterin is only playing along in the creation of art by giving all of those tokens to charitable causes, and in doing so throwing the system into upheaval.

Dogelon is, however, thinly traded. The present market price of any thinly traded asset is essentially a fiction. Manipulators can move it more or less as they like, one should assume that they already have, and it is otherwise unconnected from the reality of what the price might be for any sizable sale. Price is heavily dependent on what people think that the major holders are likely to do. If the major holder, for example, commits to only sell a little of their holdings over time in a structured and predictable way, then it is back to business as usual. Otherwise, other holders head for the exits and the price heads to zero. That process of immolation did get underway for Dogelon immediately following Vitalik's donation, and it is thus in the interest of the Methuselah Foundation to publicly suggest that this reaction is overblown.

Which is all to say that while the present value of the Methuselah Foundation Dogelon holdings is something like $80 million, if one is to trust the market price, which one shouldn't, in practice the foundation might turn out to have close to zero in value. There is a limited ability to turn any of that fictional thinly traded alleged value into actual funds for research programs without crashing the currency. It does seem plausible that a good, measured, well communicated strategy could extract millions to fund the non-profit over the years ahead, however, and the foundation staff appear to be taking the right steps towards that goal.

Our Promise to Steward Dogelon ($ELON) Value Long Term

Methuselah Foundation now controls 43% of the world's Dogelon Mars ($ELON) cryptocurrency and today announced in a press release that to maximize the $ELON's long-term value, the non-profit will steward the holdings for at least a year. Any future sales would be done to preserve the cryptocurrency's value while advancing the Foundation's mission.

The $ELON was received through a generous donation from Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum and a visionary computer programmer. The gift was received on May 12, 2021 and surprised the rapidly growing Dogelon Mars community. It was expected that Buterin would permanently retain his $ELON holdings. The donation raised liquidity concerns for the $ELON, threatening its value and circulation.

"Because our mission to extend the healthy human lifespan requires a long-term view, Methuselah Foundation focuses on lasting achievements, not short-term rewards. We will take the same nurturing approach with our Dogelon Mars holdings because we understand that the cryptocurrency's value depends on maintaining the public's confidence and capturing its imagination, much like baseball cards or other collectibles. We want the $ELON to keep accruing value over the long term."


The world has lost its mind, but if it gets more money for life extension research then... OK. Just hope it isn't too much money so as to turn everyone into fat lazy pigs.

Posted by: Matt at May 26th, 2021 3:04 PM

We are truly in a Bizzaro world when one can't even value this donation

How does that allow the organization to plan for anything?

How many new hires can they now make?

How many new projects can they start?

Buterin should put up traditional money - $$$ that is - or go do something else

This is all bollocks

Posted by: Roger Shermer at May 26th, 2021 3:44 PM

Perhaps better to identify the top well-defined 'need' programs, assuming that some have taken the time to put a dollar value and manifest together of staff, supplies, and operations - ideally with its results' delivery timeline. The list can then be prioritized on 'effectiveness' or perhaps 'value'. Maybe even categorize results into less than 2 years, less than 5 years, less than 10 years, etc...

Posted by: Jer at May 26th, 2021 5:15 PM

Let's not be too quick to look this gift horse in the mouth, hmm?

It is quite likely the gift will not be worth much...but there is a chance that it will. Perhaps over the next few years there will be an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot and derive significant value from this asset. Imagine the research this could fund if Musk, as he so often does, manages to turn this joke currency into something big. We literally have nothing to lose by waiting.

Posted by: Paul at May 27th, 2021 4:37 AM

The longevity area has long wanted financial stability and broad optics

This gives it neither

It makes it look like an unstable place to invest real monies and still on the fringes

Posted by: quan li at May 27th, 2021 5:01 AM

Aubrey de Grey said something important in a recent duo interview with Buterin. He said someone who we all know will come up next month starting his own anti-aging venture and it will be "seismic" in the field. Could be Bezos who is leaving amazon in july, or Zuckerberg.

Posted by: Jonathan Weaver at May 27th, 2021 6:35 AM

@Jonathan Weaver

And then AdG shouts out to the mystery person - "Don't F__K it up like Larry Ellison and Larry Page did."

I think there is way too much focus on these "11 figure" people - as he points out, Ellison and Page (Calico) have put in quite a bit of $$$ and gone nowhere

And there aren't too many people with deeper pockets - even if you liquidated all the wealth of someone like Bezos or Musk, it doesn't match big pharma's R&D spent in one year -

I would get much more excited to see pharma, with their $200 billion / year war chest, and many more traditional venture folks getting into the space

At least these folks know how to do drug development... somewhat well

Posted by: jim petrov at May 27th, 2021 8:37 AM

Vitalik Buterin has done our mission a signal service. He deserves our thanks. Methuselah received 1000 ETH and 43% of all ELON cryptocoin. There is much more to say, but it will need to be told another day. We sold the ETH, and have retained the ELON on the theory that the coin could not be converted to cash without destroying those who invested their money in the coin. To do such a thing goes against every fiber of our being. So, Our decision was to announce that we would hold the stake for at least one year and be a faithful steward of the coin in behalf of our mission and to bring along this rapidly growing community. There are now nearly 150,000 subscribers to the ELON twitter feed (@Dogelonmars). So our goal here is not monetary to begin with - it is educational. This is an opportunity to gradually educate an eclectic/evangelizing and committed group of ELON holders. There are 63,000 such souls, and given that the coin is less than 4 weeks old this is an astounding growth rate. We shall see what unfolds while we learn at a prodigious rate. Thanks for all who support what we do here. We really appreciate it!!

Posted by: David Gobel at May 28th, 2021 4:24 PM

@David Gobel

I think most people would like to see you educate the world by managing quality longevity projects to inflection versus goofing around with a bunch of gambling / speculating Gen Z folks...

Posted by: Roger Shermer at May 29th, 2021 12:17 PM

@David Gobel
Thanks for the update and clarifications David. Elon is now on my list to promote.
Keep it up!

Posted by: Joe Da Silva at May 29th, 2021 1:54 PM
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