Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried says oversight of the space is evolving and that he is spending 5 hours a day dealing with regulation

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Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of crypto exchange FTX.

  • Sam Bankman-Fried said he spends five hours a day dealing with crypto regulation and licensing.
  • “A lot of regulators, frankly, are currently going through the process of trying to figure out what their regulatory regime for crypto derivatives is going to be,” he told CNBC.
  • He also defended the decision of FTX to continue providing quotes for tether despite the coin’s legal trouble.
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Sam Bankman-Fried, the 29-year-old billionaire CEO of FTX, said he is spending a significant chunk of his day dealing with cryptocurrency regulation as countries across the world increase oversight of the space.

“We’re applying for licenses in a number of jurisdictions right now … We have to stay on top of that. We have to keep adapting,” the crypto billionaire told CNBC in a recorded interview published Monday. “I think it’s probably a good solid five hours a day or so that I’m spending on everything from regulation to licensing and everything in between.”

Bankman-Fried said his cryptocurrency derivatives exchange tries to adapt and comply with the varying rules per jurisdiction. Although he did allude to the challenges of doing so given the lack of clarity when it comes to these laws.

“A lot of regulators, frankly, are currently going through the process of trying to figure out what their regulatory regime for crypto derivatives is going to be,” he told CNBC, adding that he expects more developments to arise in the next three to five years.

On July 20, FTX announced that it had raised $900 million in series B financing, implying a valuation of $18 billion. Bankman-Fried said the majority of the funds will be used for expansion and acquisition.

The California-born entrepreneur also defended the decision of his Hong Kong-based firm to continue quoting prices for tether despite the stablecoin’s legal troubles.

Tether is the world’s largest stablecoin, with $62 billion in circulation. Tether executives are said to be facing a criminal probe over whether they committed bank fraud.

“Tether is a cryptocurrency that can be on FTX, like any other cryptocurrency,” he told CNBC. “It’s not treated as exactly a dollar on FTX. It’s a free-floating crypto.”

He continued: “There is an open order book for it. It’s not crucially part of our USD basket, which means the exchange doesn’t treat it as necessarily one-to-one with the US dollars. That’s for the market and users to determine.”

In July, FTX slashed the amount of leverage it offered to 20 times from 101 times in a bid to protect customers from forced liquidations. Leverage multiplies the chances of investors both to profit and to lose.