Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a federal ban on the volatile cryptocurrency market after the recent collapse of FTX, one of the largest crypto exchanges.
In an interview with MSNBC‘s Meet the Press host, Chuck Todd, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee chair said that the Treasury Department and other regulating agencies “need to get together and assess any possible action related to the cryptocurrency market.”
“Maybe banning it, although banning it is very difficult because it will go offshore and who knows how that will work,” Senator Brown said.
Samuel Bankman-Fried – the founder of FTX – was recently arrested in the Bahamas after the federal prosecutors officially charged him with multiple felonies related to his misappropriation of customers’ funds.
Bankman-Fried reportedly transferred billions of dollars deposited in the Exchange to his company, Alameda Research.
The lack of oversight and regulation of the cryptocurrency market has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of the market’s downfall, something Senator Brown — and financial committees in both congressional chambers — seek to address.
Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency – and one of the most recognizable – saw a nearly 60% fall in value by the second reporting quarter – erasing over $1.2 trillion in market cap.
But Bitcoin wasn’t the only crypto-related entity to feel the dethroning pains of the market.
Coinbase, an exchange similar to FTX, saw its shares fall from a peak high of $281.99 just a year ago, to less than $40 a share today – leaving investors holding the bag
Sen. Brown has his finger on the pulse of the trajectory that has cost investors billions, pointing out the writing that was already on the wall and explaining how an unregulated industry left to operate unfettered and without oversight ended in financial devastation for far too many.
The Senate Banking chair told Todd that the crypto market is a “complicated, unregulated pot of money,” and that the problems go beyond Bankman-Fried’s FTX.
“I’ve spent much of the last eight years and a half in this job as chair of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, educating my colleagues and trying to educate the public about crypto and the dangers that it presents to our security as a nation and the consumers that get hoodwinked by them,” Brown said.
While there are still crypto stans in the legislative body, the wake-up call is ringing loud and clear.
It’s time to peel back the curtain on the market and hold those accountable for using the industry to fleece its investors, skirt government accountability, and sell the American people on the increasingly disappearing dream that betting – and losing – their money on cryptocurrency will somehow make them a millionaire.
Original reporting by Brad Dress at The Hill.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick