Kevin O’Leary, a Canadian entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” star, recently criticized the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, alleging that it was responsible for the demise of FTX. The renowned entrepreneur argued that Binance is a “massive, unregulated monopoly now” during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
O’Leary received roughly $15 million for his services as an FTX spokesperson. There were reports that he had more than $10 million worth of tokens held at FTX, all of which were lost when the exchange went bankrupt.
Binance under fire
According to O’Leary, Binance’s founder and ex-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told him that the exchange had to spend up to $3 billion repurchasing a portion of FTX’s shares. Before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, he testified about how this wiped out FTX’s assets.
In my view — my personal opinion — these two behemoths that own the unregulated market together and grow these incredible businesses in terms of growth were at war with each other,” he said. “And one put the other out of business, intentionally.
According to O’Leary, the secret conflict between the executives of the two cryptocurrency exchanges centers on the issue of regulation. As owners of a nearly 20% stake in FTX, Binance and Changpeng “CZ” Zhao had to adhere to regulators’ requirements and compliance norms in multiple regions.
Apparently, according to Sam Bankman-Fried, CZ would not comply with regulators’ requests in different jurisdictions to provide the data that would clear them [FTX] for a license […] The only option the management and Sam Bankman-Fried had was to buy him out at an extraordinary valuation close to $32 billion.
Zhao’s move to liquidate Binance’s FTX token (FTT) holdings at the beginning of November, claiming “recent revelations that have come to light” and “post-exit risk management,” was meant to drive down the price of the token, according to O’Leary.
Meanwhile, Binance’s CEO was taken aback after hearing an interview with Kevin O’Leary, who has been vocally defending and supporting the CEO of the defunct FTX exchange. According to CZ, Binance exited its stake in FTX back in July 2021.
“It seems $15m not only changed @kevinolearytv’s mind about crypto, it also made him align with a fraudster. Is he seriously defending SBF?” Zhao tweeted after O’Leary’s interview went public.