FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried says he’s “frustrated” by the crypto industry’s unhelpful and “anti-regulatory” messaging around sanctions recently imposed on Russia.
Crypto exchanges including Binance, Kraken, and Coinbase have publicly refused blanket bans on Russian users. They generally cited libertarian values for their decision to stay in the Russian market.
This is despite government concerns that oligarchs and other Moscow insiders might use cryptocurrencies to evade strict economic sanctions imposed by the West over Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Bankman-Fried, one of the world’s richest crypto billionaires worth $24 billion according to Forbes, noted that the “content of the decisions” may be okay, but how his competitors are presenting them is all wrong.
“I’m very frustrated with the messaging that our industry has had on this,” Bankman-Fried told Reuters.
“I think it has not been helpful. I think it has been basically anti-regulatory, is how it’s been perceived. I think that’s how it sounds, and I think that has caused a pretty big perception issue.”
FTX has already cut ties with Russian banks
Earlier this week, US Senators introduced a bill that seeks power to restrict foreign crypto firms from conducting business with US-based users.
The bill would also allow the US government to sanction foreign entities who are still facilitating Russia-based crypto trade.
This would directly impact the likes of Binance and FTX, considering they operate out of off-shore tax havens.
But according to Reuters, Bankman-Fried said that his Bahamas-based FTX exchange immediately froze sanctioned Russian entities and cut ties with all Russian banks. Even those not on sanction lists.
This was to avoid FTX being used as a gateway for Russia to financially interact with the world.
The exchange does, however still allow Russian users to trade as long as they’re not sanctioned. They just can’t deposit or withdraw any fiat via their local banks.
Bankman-Fried also said FTX is in communication with the US Treasury to relay information about its business in Russia.
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