Sam Altman Left OpenAI for Microsoft: What It Means for Worldcoin Price
The price of Worldcoin fell dramatically following the news of Sam Altman's unexpected dismissal as CEO of OpenAI. Here's what happened.
The drama of Sam Altman's firing
On Friday, November 17, OpenAI unexpectedly announced the firing of CEO Sam Altman. Two days later, the board of directors confirmed their decision by appointing former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear to the position. The decision was so shocking and sudden that many of Altman's colleagues and major OpenAI investors sided with Altman.
According to a report from Greg Brockman, who also left his position at OpenAI, Altman was scheduled to meet Friday evening with OpenAI Research Fellow Ilya Sutskever. Brockman also indicated that the company's chief technology officer, Mira Murati, was already aware of Altman's impending dismissal.
Sam and I are shocked and saddened by what the board did today.— Greg Brockman (@gdb) November 18, 2023
Let us first say thank you to all the incredible people who we have worked with at OpenAI, our customers, our investors, and all of those who have been reaching out.
We too are still trying to figure out exactly…
On Friday, November 17, Brockman received a message from Sutskever asking him to attend the upcoming meeting, but minutes later received another message stating that Altman had been fired and Brockman himself would be removed from the board of directors.
A little later, OpenAI publicly announced Altman's dismissal for not being completely honest with the board. However, rumors suggest an unresolved disagreement between Altman and the board: Altman wanted to put more effort into AI development, while his team saw it as a danger. The blog post also said that Mira Murati will temporarily take over as CEO. Bloomberg said that the news of Sam's departure came as a complete surprise to him as well.
The announcement sparked a flurry of criticism of OpenAI. People close to the issue said that the board did not make OpenAI's major investor, technology giant Microsoft, aware of its decision. The move infuriated the current Microsoft management, but in an official statement, Satya Nadella only mentioned that the decision will not affect the markets and Microsoft will still remain an investor in OpenAI. Reports have also surfaced that other OpenAI investors are looking for ways to get rid of the company's shares. Meanwhile, Elon Musk, an early investor in OpenAI, demanded that the board reveal the real reason for Altman's dismissal, hinting at ulterior motives in his tweet.
Following Altman, Greg Brockman (as he himself stated in his post), Head of Readiness Alexander Madfrey and Research Director Jakub Pachocki left the company.
As it turned out, the company's employees were not made aware of Sam Altman's dismissal. On November 18, this was confirmed by OpenAI Chief Operating Officer Brad Lightcap. On the same day, it became known that Altman was discussing a new AI-based project with investors. Meanwhile, Microsoft's entire management team was in a frenzy, demanding that OpenAI bring Sam Altman back as CEO. The board of directors agreed to bring back Altman and Brockman.
On November 19, according to Altman's X post, he visited OpenAI headquarters for talks. Some sources began writing about Microsoft possibly getting a board seat or a non-voting third-party observer if Altman returned. Altman himself demanded the resignation of some board members and insisted on a public statement of apology from them. Whether Altman was referring to Ilya Sutskever, since he was the one who organized the dismissal (and was rumored to be on bad terms with Altman), is unknown. However, as it turned out, the negotiations were unsuccessful: the board of directors refused to compromise and appointed a new CEO of OpenAI. Emmett Shear, the former CEO of Twitch, became the new CEO.
So, here's what happened at OpenAI tonight. Mira planned to hire Sam and Greg back. She turned Team Sam over past couple of days. Idea was to force board to fire everyone, which they figured the board would not do. Board went into total silence. Found their own CEO Emmett Shear— Ashlee Vance (@ashleevance) November 20, 2023
On November 20, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, added Altman and Brockman to the new AI research team.
What's going on with Worldcoin?
Worldcoin, the cryptocurrency brainchild of Sam Altman, has reacted immediately to the drama of Altman's dismissal from OpenAI. The chart below shows the dramatic price movements over the past few days:
As recently as Thursday, the price of WLD was at $2.5, but dropped to $1.8 on Saturday afternoon. Monday morning, November 20, the token reached $2.7, probably reacting to the news that Altman and Brockman had joined Microsoft.
Despite previously being met negatively by regulators in some countries, the project continues to see strong adoption. The team reported over 4 million downloads of the World app with 1 million monthly active users.
Meanwhile, news of Altman's dismissal caused a surge in the prices of other AI sector tokens. Fetch.ai (FET), SingularityNET (AGIX), and The Graph (GRT), brought 3% to 16% daily gains.
Summarizing the whole drama, Altman wrote, "The mission continues."