Vitalik Buterin Donates More than $2 Million to the Methuselah Foundation

The blockchain and cryptocurrency space is known to produce events that require more than a little explanation for an outsider to even begin to understand what exactly has taken place. I will not attempt to do that here. In the midst of one of those events, involving dog themed joke currencies that are nonetheless somehow magically worth real money, albeit to some highly variable degree depending on who has control of them, and what everyone else thinks that controller will do with them, well known entrepreneur Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, donated 1,000 Ether to the Methuselah Foundation. That amounts to more that $2 million at the present time, a sizable fraction of the yearly budget of that organization.

Buterin has made substantial philanthropic donations to advance the state of longevity in the past, such as to the SENS Research Foundation, and has spoken on the desirability of producing therapies to treat aging as a medical condition. The Methuselah Foundation is the parent organization of the SENS Research Foundation, and organized some of the first research programs to work on mechanisms of aging that were insufficiently supported by the broader research community. Since then, the Methuselah Foundation has undertaken a range of projects, many of which aim to advance the state of the art in tissue engineering, and launched the Methuselah Fund to invest in early stage startups in the longevity industry.

Vitalik Buterin donates more than $60M to charity after selling meme tokens including Shiba Inu

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin sold large amounts of three meme tokens on Wednesday that he was given for free. Buterin then used proceeds of the sales to support a range of charities, according to public blockchain data. Buterin was given the tokens through a rather unusual token distribution strategy. The developers behind at least three dog-themed tokens - based around the Shiba Inu breed of dog - decided to send half of their tokens to his publicly known Ethereum address. These tokens included Shiba Inu (SHIB), Akita Inu (AKITA) and Dogelon Mars (ELON).

The theory behind this was that the approach was akin to burning the tokens. Presumably, the idea was that Buterin - who owns 333,500 ETH worth around $1.3 billion - wouldn't need the cash and would just sit on the tokens. Buterin appears to have had other ideas, however. Starting a few hours ago, Buterin began sending the tokens in batches to Uniswap and selling them for ETH, creating a total of 15,719 ETH, an amount worth about $63 million.

Following the sales, Buterin sent large amounts of ETH to various charities that support different causes. He gave out more than 16,000 ETH along with some of the dog-themed tokens. The largest tranche - 13,292 ETH - was sent to Givewell, a non-profit charity assessment organization. The Ethereum creator also sent 1,000 ETH and 430 billion ELON tokens (the latter worth $215,000) to the Methuselah Foundation, which focuses on making people live longer. He sent 1,050 ETH to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, which focuses on ensuring AI has a positive impact.


Buterin is the real deal. He already gave $3 millions to SENS in 2019 I think. Forget about Diamandis or Kurzweil. They will never give money to SENS. I'm not into virtual currencies, I don't understand a thing at all. I just hope etherum rise to the sky so that he can give more money to SENS in the future.

Posted by: Jonathan Weaver at May 17th, 2021 5:23 PM

@John It might be an error. In the article there is a tweet which say $56 million to Givewell which is 13292 etherum. And he gave 1000 etherum to sens so theres no way it is $336 million.

Posted by: Jonathan Weaver at May 17th, 2021 6:43 PM

I wish the SENS Foundation was bringing in 10-50 million a year.

Posted by: jimofoz at May 18th, 2021 12:53 AM

@Jonathan Weaver: Peter Diamandis actually mentions Aubrey in his latest blog about longevity. And in a favourable light.

Posted by: Steven B at May 18th, 2021 4:02 AM

@Steven. They mentioned Aubrey for 15 years, yet no donations. Kurzweil is in his 70s, Diamandis is almost 60. I hope they don't regret it in their deathbed.

Posted by: Jonathan Weaver at May 18th, 2021 6:36 AM

@Jonathan Weaver, SENS is not the only game in town and not everyone has the same priorities when it comes to life extension approaches.

Posted by: Steve at May 18th, 2021 9:39 AM

@Steve You won't get anywhere with modestly slowing aging.

Posted by: Jonathan Weaver at May 18th, 2021 12:22 PM

According to the cited tweet in the techcrunch article Buterin donated 1000 ETH (~$3.5 mio), but he also donated all of his Dogelon tokens to the Methuselah Foundation. At todays price they are worth about $225 mio. It's a very volatile coin, and was worth more than four times as much last week. So if true this is a very meaningful donation.

Posted by: Mark at May 18th, 2021 4:51 PM

Good for him. I hope he makes another SENS donation. It's nice to see a billionaire with a bit of vision. I never understood why more wealthy people with an interest in life extension don't donate more heavily to support research.

After you've got a few million dollars there's not a lot of material things in this world you can't buy anymore; it makes sense to donate any excess to longevity research (After all, your millions aren't worth much to you if you're dead, and even people in their 30s are far from certain to reach longevity escape velocity).

Posted by: Kel at May 18th, 2021 5:22 PM

correction: I meant to say "even people in their 20s are far from certain to reach longevity escape velocity"

Posted by: Kel at May 18th, 2021 5:35 PM

@Kel Longevity Escape Velocity should be somewhere in the 2030s so it's really safe for people under 40. In 2050, people who will be 60 or 70 will rejuvenate to their 40s or 50s. This is a conservative prediction. In 2030, oisin will have its senolytic injections available for people, it will be inexpensive and remove 80% of all your senescent cells, everywhere in your body. Combine this with cellularity stem cells therapies in development and it should be enough for LEV in 2030-2035.
At this point, the most difficult SENS components will be in clinical trials and available in the 2040s. So it is 100% safe for people under 40.

Posted by: Jonathan Weaver at May 18th, 2021 6:52 PM

@Johnathan. I hope you're right, but your timetable sounds very optimistic. Senolytic treatments are promising but have yet to be proven in humans, and even if they do work, it's unclear how much life extension they'll produce (their max LS extension in mice is modest). And the most important longevity goal, the regeneration of the human brain, is very complex and will probably take a long time.

The truth is, predicting the timetable of future technological developments is notoriously difficult, and nobody knows when LEV will be reached. It's entirely possible it could take the better part of a century. Regardless, I think everyone interested in LEV should assume it will take much longer than we think and strongly support the science with that idea in mind.

Posted by: Kel at May 18th, 2021 7:46 PM

@Jonathan Weaver
>it is 100% safe for people under 40.
i would put only one sigma that we can reach LEV by 2050 on a wide-spread scale. It is certainly not 100% safe. But for someone in his 20s that's a good bet to donate/invest a sizeable portion of ones huge fortune in anti-aging. Even it takes 50 years he has a pretty good shot. For me personally at my mid 40s this time frame would leave me a very small but real chance. If his donations could shave 10 or even 20 years of the research and application it could make a real difference. Don't forget that we need only one real AJ treatment to work well enough and there will be an enormous interest to fund the research.

Posted by: Cuberat at May 19th, 2021 2:30 PM

it is easy to count other people's money.

Posted by: Cuberat at May 19th, 2021 2:44 PM

Methuselah Foundation claims this goal:
"MAKING 90 THE NEW 50 BY 2030"
Do you think they will reach goal?

Posted by: Alex at June 26th, 2021 10:40 AM
Comment Submission

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.