Communications from the cryptocurrency industry around sanctions on Russia have been unproductive and do not reflect what the firm is actually doing, said the head of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
Unlike payment companies, most crypto exchanges have rejected calls to cut off all Russian consumers, sparking concerns among U.S. lawmakers that digital assets could be used to circumvent Western sanctions on Moscow over its aggression on Ukraine.
“I am very disappointed with the orders placed by our industry on this,” Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, which was recently worth $ 32 billion, told Reuters late Thursday.
“I think it doesn’t help. I think it’s basically anti-regulatory, is how it’s seen, and I think that’s how it sounds, and I think it’s caused a pretty big perception issue,” he said of the Futures Industry Association’s outdoor conference. Boca Raton, Florida.
Democratic U.S. senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow the government to approve foreign cryptocurrency firms doing business with authorized Russian entities and prevent them from doing business with U.S. customers.
Bahamas-based FTX immediately cut support to all blocked parties and cut off access to all Russian banks, even unauthorized ones, so the exchange could not be used as a gateway between Russia and the rest of the world, Bankman-Fried said.
FTX still allows unauthorized Russian users to trade, with anti-money laundering checks, and is communicating with the U.S. Treasury about what it is doing in Russia, said Bankman-Fried, a 30-year-old crypto millionaire.
Exchanges like Binance and Kraken have said cutting all Russians is against the libertarian values of the industry.
“I don’t think this is really about the content of the decision,” Bankman-Fried said of such a response. “It’s about the way they’ve been presented.”
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