Coinbase Founder and CEO Brian Armstrong attends Consensus 2019 at the Hilton Midtown in New York City on May 15, 2019.
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FTX, which until recently was one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, filed for bankruptcy on Friday after revelations about its business practices led to a surge in customer withdrawals and insufficient funds to carry out those withdrawals. Declared.
coin base While FTX has not had any significant exposure, I am extremely sympathetic to everyone involved in the current situation. have lost a lot of money as a result of their struggles.
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It’s also important to clarify why this happened. It’s also important to clarify what needs to be changed to prevent something like this from happening again.
FTX’s downfall appears to be the result of dangerous and unethical business practices, including conflicts of interest between deeply intertwined entities and decisions to lend out client assets without permission. It is worth noting that these activities also take place in traditional financial markets. In fact, blockchain technology makes tracking and prosecution easier over time.
In the wake of this week’s event, we are already seeing calls for greater regulation of the crypto industry with tighter restrictions on access and innovation. The problem is that, so far, US regulators have refused to provide clear and sensible regulations on crypto that protect consumers.
U.S. cryptocurrency regulations are difficult to navigate and regulators have so far failed to provide a viable framework for delivering these services in a secure and transparent manner. This means that a host of cryptocurrency-based financial instruments, including lending, margin trading, short selling and other tools that are fully legal and regulated in traditional financial markets, are largely outlawed in the United States. Entrepreneurial teams building new decentralized products are afraid to build and file lawsuits in the US. They don’t want to break the rules and don’t know what the rules are right now.
As a result, US consumers and senior traders alike have been involved in high-risk offshore platforms outside the jurisdiction and protection of US regulators. Today, over 95% of his crypto trading activity takes place on foreign exchanges.
One of the reasons FTX was able to do this was because it operated in the Bahamas. The Bahamas is a small island nation with little regulatory oversight and little ability to oversee financial services businesses. Did the regulator force FTX to act like that? But they created a situation where FTX could take dangerous risks with no repercussions.
U.S. regulators have focused on enforcement regulation instead of setting clear guidelines for cryptocurrencies. Blaming US-based companies for not following the rules without actually establishing what those rules are. Coinbase itself fell victim to this practice earlier this year when the SEC accused the company of listing unregistered securities, which we strongly deny. This is bad news for Americans who lose money when foreign companies go bankrupt.
All of this helps explain why tighter regulation will exacerbate the problem of cryptocurrency companies and cryptocurrency users going abroad. smarter Regulations that protect consumers and make the U.S. a more attractive place for cryptocurrency companies.
Despite the popular belief that cryptocurrency companies do not want to be regulated, many, if not most, have worked with policymakers over the years. We care about the future of cryptocurrencies and want to create sensible regulations for centralized exchanges and custodians in the US and elsewhere.
In the long term, the crypto industry has an opportunity to build better systems with decentralized finance and self-custody wallets that do not rely on trusted third parties such as exchanges. Instead, customers will be able to trust the code and math, and everything will be publicly auditable on the blockchain. Until then, however, regulators must establish clear rules to bring cryptocurrencies back onshore, foster innovation, and protect consumers.
America has always been proud to be a pioneer in new technologies and industries. The age of crypto has arrived as more than 200 million global crypto users and countries have begun piloting digital currency programs and accepting Bitcoin as legal tender.
The United States now has a choice. Either provide clear, business-friendly regulation and take the lead, or risk losing key drivers of innovation and economic equality.
Brian Armstrong is the CEO and co-founder of Coinbase.