WASHINGTON, D.C.— Dennis Kelleher, Co-founder, President, and CEO, issued the following statement in connection with the guilty verdict in the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried.
“FTX and its former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried are a red-flag warning that leaders (including regulators, elected officials, influencers, blue-chip venture capital firms, and elite law firms) must do better now that crypto’s lies and crimes have been exposed and resulted in a criminal conviction for shockingly egregious but all too frequent conduct. They must stop blindly accepting the pixie dust of ‘innovation,’ the fairytale of crypto riches, the claims of so-called ‘visionaries,’ and, yes, the piles of cash that continue to be stuffed into too many pockets to influence Washington policymaking. Enough is enough. The lying, cheating, and stealing has to stop. The crypto special interests should be treated like the lawbreakers that they are, and the interests of customers, investors, markets, and financial stability must be prioritized above the profits of the crypto industry.
“FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried are not one-offs in the crypto industry. In fact, today’s conviction is a condemnation of the entire crypto industry and its business model which is based on breaking the law for a financial product that has no socially useful purpose. It is just the opposite: crypto’s use and value is in breaking the law, from ripping off customers, money laundering and tax evasion to ransomware, gambling, and funding terrorists and rogue states like Hamas, North Korea, and Iran.
“Unlike every other law-abiding firm in the financial industry, crypto alone says that the longstanding and clear securities and commodities laws do not apply to them and blatantly violate those laws. Among other things, crypto commingles brokers, dealers, exchanges, clearing, custody, hedge funds, and more in a cauldron of conflicts that threaten customers, investors, markets, and financial stability. They then spend their enormous predatory if not illegal profits to fight regulators trying to enforce the law while trying to buy enough elected officials to get special interest legislation enacted to enable them to unleash this socially useless product on hardworking Americans and retirees. They may not all be criminals like Sam Bankman-Fried, but they are nonetheless breaking the law and routinely engaging in conduct that gets very close to if not crosses the line of criminal conduct as proved again yesterday in the arrest of the officers of SafeMoon. FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried were mere differences of degree, not differences of kind in the crypto world.
“Today’s verdict must be the beginning, not the end of bringing the lawless crypto industry into full compliance with existing laws or they should face the same consequences as Sam Bankman-Fried.”
Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.org.