ORLANDO, Fla. – The once “King of Crypto” Samuel Bankman-Fried is facing eight criminal charges after federal authorities say the disgraced cryptocurrency investor defrauded $1.8 billion from investors.
Bankman-Fried’s arrest sends the message that Securities and Exchange Commission regulators will not tolerate fraud, even in a new, emerging asset class like cryptocurrency.
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“We already have laws in the books to protect against fraud. At the end of the day, this was fraud,” said Perianne Boring, an Orlando resident who has spent almost a decade on Capitol Hill advocating on behalf of digital assets like bitcoin.
“Regulators should prosecute. [They should] prosecute aggressively against those who break the law, but to be clear, this was fraud, and that can happen in any industry,” said Boring.
Boring’s trade association, the Chamber of Digital Commerce, focuses on teaching lawmakers about digital assets, and for years Boring has asked for regulatory clarity in the cryptocurrency space.
“Because the U.S. has completely failed in offering clarity to businesses, activities moved overseas. That gave rise to FTX,” said Boring. “Had the U.S. created a legal environment that encourages digital asset companies to operate here in the United States, we absolutely could have mitigated the amount of investor losses at FTX.”
So is crypto a safe investment? Orlando resident Brian Estes, who founded the highly successful crypto-focused hedge fund Off the Chain Capital, believes not all crypto is created equal.
“A lot of crypto is not a safe investment. There are a lot of scams out there. There are a lot of tokens that are not based on any economics. But if you’re asking if Bitcoin is a safe investment, I believe bitcoin is going to be the monetary layer of the world over the next 1,000 years.”
Estes made millions investing early in megatrends, things like the internet and smart phone technology. He believes blockchain technology, the tech that powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, is the next megatrend.
“When we built the internet 30 years ago, we built it incorrectly. There was not any software that allowed us to transfer value through the internet, so we built the internet on top of the banking and credit card system,” said Estes.
“That’s what blockchain technology fixes. That is why it is a megatrend. It is the next version of the internet.”
The Biden Administration estimates over 40 million Americans invest in cryptocurrency. If you already own crypto or want to begin investing, Estes, who spent decades as a traditional finance wealth manager, says do not try to time the market. Instead, try dollar cost averaging.
“With dollar cost averaging you invest a little bit every day or every week or every month, consistently over time. That is what my daughter does.”
Want to learn more about bitcoin and blockchain technology? Both Boring and Estes recommend Hope.com, a website run by bitcoin investor Michael Saylor.