FTX CEO Criticizes Industry Stance for Russia Sanctions

Mar. 18 Sam Bankman Fried criticized other cryptocurrency exchanges because they didn’t comply with the sanctions that were placed on Russian oligarchs. Bankman-Fried said that he was “very frustrated with the messaging that [the crypto] industry has had on this” and said that public statements from some firms have been unhelpful. He stated:

“I think it has been basically anti-regulatory, is how it’s been perceived, and I think that’s how it sounds, and I think that has caused a pretty big perception issue.”

Bankman-Fried argued that this was an issue of perception and presentation — not an issue with the policies set by exchanges. “I don’t think this is really about the content of the decisions…It’s about the way that they’ve been presented,” he said. Bankman-Fried may be referring to statements by the CEOs at major exchanges. Companies such as Kraken, Binance and Coinbase all have complied to targeted sanctions against Russia, while also declaring that it is uncalled for to impose broader restrictions.

FTX, itself, has followed a similar route to other exchanges. It blocks sanctioned Russian people while allowing those who are not sanctioned to use the services. The exchange has also prevented sanctioned as well as unsanctioned Russian banks from using its services. However, FTX has spoken out more about the severity of these restrictions. In a new CNBC interview, Bankman-Fried suggested that there are “a lot of processes in place” that make it difficult for Russian oligarchs to effectively use crypto. He pointed out that transactions involve both individuals and banks. He also said that FTX’s relationship with regulators has been “extremely constructive” in enforcing sanctions. He did not comment specifically on Senator Elizabeth Warren’s new bill, which aims to enforce sanctions on Russia more thoroughly when asked. FTX currently ranks fourth in terms of trading volume and has handled $2 billion worth of trading within the last 24 hours. Its American counterpart, FTX.US managed $180 million more in volume.

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