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From the description:

Altruist: First bounty you manually awarded on another person's question

Investor: First bounty you offered on another person's question

What is the difference between these two badges?

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up vote 17 down vote accepted

To get the Investor badge you simply need to offer a bounty. You get the badge the day you offer the bounty.

For the Altruist badge, you not only need to offer a bounty, but you need to actually award it before the end of the bounty term.

You can offer a bounty, but not award it. A case in point would be offering a bounty on a question, but still no answers get posted. The bounty would expire without being awarded. You'd get the first badge, but not the second.

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Just for curiousity - you would still loose the bounty, right? – JP19 Dec 26 '10 at 12:02
JP19: The bounty points are deducted immediately when you offer it. Awarding it costs you nothing. The Investor badge should motivate you, or indicate, that you are encouraged to follow up and award it to a worthy answer. – Daniel Vassallo Dec 26 '10 at 12:10

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