Bankman-Fried ‘totally on board’ with crypto regulation 

Quick Take

  • FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried would “love to be helpful” to regulators eyeing new rules for the crypto industry, the exchange mogul said in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
  • Bankman-Fried noted his industry has sparred with public officials in the past, but sees regulation as “healthy” and “the right thing to do.”

The crypto industry hasn’t always done a great job communicating with federal regulators, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said during an appearance in Washington, D.C., but the crypto exchange founder is on board with new rules for digital assets. 

“We are totally on board with regulation. It has to happen. It's healthy. It's the right thing to do. And we'd love to be helpful any way we can,” Bankman-Fried said. “I think our industry has not always done a great job at saying that. Sometimes maybe that was the intention, but it's come out more like ‘fuck you’ and that that wasn't as constructive a way to engage.”

Bankman-Fried spoke about crypto for an hour at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Wednesday morning. The wide-ranging conversation was moderated by center President Jason Grumet.

Earlier this month, the Financial Stability Oversight Council released a report identifying possible risks that crypto firms acting as clearing houses or broker-dealers, like FTX, could pose to the financial system. The report, part of a larger set of documents released by the Biden administration this fall, urged lawmakers to pass new crypto regulations.

“Here’s an area where, frankly, a lot of players in the crypto industry have to grapple with how to handle this right now,” Bankman-Fried said, when asked about the report. He suggested new regulatory guardrails that create more transparency, like exchange listing decisions.

If he had the opportunity to address FSOC, a super committee of financial regulators chaired by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Bankman-Fried said he would advocate for regulation and steer clear of the industry’s combative tendencies.

“Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit,” Bankman-Fried said. “I use stablecoins a lot as an example because I think it’s just the cleanest - it’s just like clearly a good thing which helps reduce risk, to do this without getting in the way of legitimate finance. It’s just good. Let’s do that.”

Bankman-Fried added that there is “so much potential” to set new standards for digital assets and bolster consumer protections.

The FTX boss has appeared at several financial events in Washington this week, and his company is leading a robust lobbying push in the nation's capital. Bankman-Fried’s comments come as regulators and lawmakers weigh new rules for the crypto industry, particularly after this summer’s market crash. Policy watchers expect a stablecoin bill will emerge from the House Financial Services Committee in the next year. 

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