Kevin O’Leary, chairman of venture capital firm O’Leary Ventures and star of TV’s Shark Tank, said in a congressional hearing on Wednesday that Binance Global Inc.’s chief executive and founder Changpeng Zhao deliberately caused the collapse of Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX.com.
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- “I have an opinion, not the records,” he said, “[FTX and Binance] were at war with each other, and one put the other out of business intentionally. Now, maybe there’s nothing wrong with that, maybe there’s nothing wrong with love and war. But Binance is a massive, unregulated global monopoly now.”
- O’Leary’s comments were part of a Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing titled: “Crypto Crash: ‘Why the FTX Bubble Burst and the Harm to Consumers.’”
- The television star invested in FTX and has said he was paid US$15 million to be a spokesperson for the company.
- In early November, Zhao tweeted that Binance was liquidating its FTT position, the native token of FTX, a move that contributed to a run on FTX and its eventual bankruptcy.
- O’Leary also used his testimony to call for greater regulation within the industry: “We need to get to the bottom of what happened at FTX, but we can’t let its collapse cause us to abandon the great promise and potential of crypto.”
- Bankman-Fried was requested to testify at the hearing but was arrested by Bahamian police on Monday at the request of the U.S. Government.
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