- Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary says crypto needs to be regulated like the stock market.
- “This premise that it’s some kind of different issue, it’s not. It’s just unregulated, wild west.” he told lawmakers.
- O’Leary has said he lost nearly $10 million in the FTX collapse, and was paid $15 million as a spokesman.
Trading stocks was once criticized as mere gambling, and the cryptocurrency market will be the same way until it is regulated like other securities, Kevin O’Leary told lawmakers in a testimony on Wednesday.
“I find the analogy of crypto to be that of gambling and speculation interesting. That was exactly what we described of the New York Stock Exchange 150 years ago. And what happened was, because of the nature of the risk, we regulated it,” O’Leary said during his testimony to the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on Wednesday.
It’s unclear what moment in history O’Leary is referring to, though the NYSE hit a trading-volume milestone of 1 million shares around 135 years ago. That was some time before the market crashed in the late 1920s, which spurred the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1934 and gave birth to much of the regulatory framework for stocks and other securities in place today.
“Now is the time to embrace the potential of crypto, regulate it, and allow its potential to be fully realized for the benefit of the entire economy,” O’Leary said in his prepared remarks ahead of Wednesday’s testimony.
O’Leary, who was a paid spokesperson and account holder of FTX, says he lost around $10 million when the exchange declared bankruptcy last month. He had previously jumped to Bankman-Fried’s defense against fraud allegations, and called for FTX to be audited before condemning the fallen crypto mogul.
The collapse of FTX has resonated among crypto skeptics, like economist Nouriel Roubini, who called crypto the “Mother of All Ponzi Schemes” and slammed O’Leary for being a “paid hack” for FTX. But O’Leary urged policymakers to better police the industry, adding that he was previously a crypto skeptic himself before becoming more familiar with the industry.
“We need to regulate this. This premise that it’s some kind of different issue, it’s not. It’s just unregulated, wild west.” he said. “It needs regulation, that’s it.”
Bankman-Fried was arrested on multiple charges on Tuesday, including fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. He could be sentenced up to 115 years in prison if convicted of all the charges brought against him.
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