Effective Giving advises the UK’s youngest self-made billionaire, Ben Delo, on his philanthropy. Our support ranges from providing bespoke funding recommendations to setting up collaborations with partner organisations such as the Open Philanthropy Project.
Ben is a philanthropist, computer scientist and a co-founder of BitMEX, a derivatives trading platform for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 2005 with a double first in Mathematics and Computer Science.
Ben began his career as a software engineer at IBM, where he was granted patents for several inventions. He then developed high-frequency trading systems at hedge funds and banks such as GSA Capital and J.P. Morgan. In 2018, when BitMEX became the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Ben became Britain’s youngest self-made billionaire.
Ben, an advocate of effective altruism and member of Effective Giving, has focused his philanthropy on reducing global catastrophic risks and safeguarding future generations.
Study on COVID-19 in the UK
In response to the urgent need to determine how common COVID-19 is in the UK community to inform the public health response, Ben has given a grant to researchers at the University of Oxford to support a UK cross-sectional survey study.
This research is also being carried out to explore the use of nanopore technology, which sequences the whole genome of pathogens, as a diagnostic tool to improve pandemic preparedness for this and future novel disease outbreaks
The Giving Pledge
In April 2019, Ben signed The Giving Pledge, an initiative created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet for billionaires who promise to donate the majority of their wealth to help address society's most pressing problems. See Ben’s full Giving Letter here. He is also a signatory of the Giving What We Can Pledge.
Selected Grants made by Ben Delo
We consider large-scale pandemics to be among the most likely threats to civilisation’s long-term progress. This grant supports the Center for Health Security’s research into new approaches to mitigate and prevent global catastrophic biological risks, in collaboration with the Future of Humanity Institute, a multidisciplinary research institute at the University of Oxford focused on the analysis of existential risks.
The advent of advanced artificial intelligence is likely to have a substantial, long-lasting impact on our society. Led by Professor Stuart Russell, co-author of the most widely-used textbook on AI, CHAI is one of the first academic research centres dedicated to the design of safe and reliably beneficial artificial intelligence systems. This funding will help CHAI to further their research into reliably beneficial AI and to increase the emphasis on safety in the wider AI field.
In Ben’s giving letter, he recognises that ‘while we have some insight into what the most pressing problems are and how to approach them, we urgently need to know more’. Ben provided seed funding to launch the Forethought Foundation, which aims to promote research within philosophy and the social sciences on how best to positively influence the long-term future. The Forethought Foundation works in close collaboration with the Global Priorities Institute at the University of Oxford and offers scholarships and fellowships to students in global priorities research, as well as research grants for established scholars.