‘I want it now’: Kevin O’Leary pushes for crypto regulation

Shark Tank host Kevin "Mr. Wonderful" O’Leary has called for regulation in the crypto industry, saying he especially wanted Congress to pass the Stablecoin Transparency Act.

O'Leary described the Act as “far superior” to the Automated Clearing House (ACH) and the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT). His comment came following the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX.

“What I’m going to be doing is I’m going to fly to Washington and I want regulation,” O’Leary said. “I want it now. No more delaying. I think this puts tremendous pressure on the SEC.”

The Act enables users to conduct all daily transactions with the U.S. dollar. O’Leary added that if Congress passed the bill, his businesses would use stablecoins in their everyday operations. According to the billionaire investor, the Act will also increase Bitcoin’s value.

The Canadian entrepreneur shared that he had invested in the bankrupt crypto trading platform and expressed his disappointment in FTX’s implosion. O’Leary said that the FTX case was a lesson for him and that it was not his first time making “a bad investment.”

O’Leary also stressed that he was still an advocate for the economic potential of cryptocurrency and the entire blockchain ecosystem. He said that he did not plan to stop buying cryptocurrencies.

He maintained that, at this point, the “crypto bottom is in.” He said that any market, including real estate and equities, also experienced a bottom point that signaled the market’s maturation.

Mr. Wonderful added that a “big player” would need to “go to zero" in any market. This bottom point often signals the start of the market’s rebuilding process. He argued that market players who survived the bottom point would learn from that downfall.

Nevertheless, O’Leary also said that FTX’s bankruptcy led to distrust toward the crypto industry as a whole. Institutional investors will be wary of investing in crypto assets unless government tightly regulates the industry.

Regulators’ responses to FTX’s bankruptcy

Analysts have maintained that FTX and its executives, including its former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, will face criminal and civil charges.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission recently launched investigations into the company to check if it had violated U.S. laws. The Bahamas, where FTX headquartered its business, also took action by freezing all of the company’s assets within the island nation.

U.S. Congress members also pushed for tighter control of the crypto industry following its Chapter 11 filing. Several lawmakers discussed the possibility of a hearing by the end of 2022 to discuss cryptocurrency law.

Rep. Brad Sherman of the House Financial Services Committee called the FTX case a “dramatic demonstration” of the risks the crypto industry had always possessed.

Senator Pat Toomey, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, pointed out that the ambiguity in the U.S. law regarding the crypto market had enabled FTX to develop mainly offshore. Previous data revealed that 95 percent of FTX’s revenue came from its non-U.S. unit. Senator Toomey was among Congress members who demanded thorough guidelines for the crypto industry.

Earlier in March, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order to regulate the crypto industry, which directs federal agencies to analyze the risks and opportunities of the industry. It also discussed the possibility of the issuance of the digital greenback.

The U.S. Treasury, however, said that the executive order did not provide a clear road map for agencies to work with.