Kevin O'Leary, aka "Mr. Wonderful," a Canadian entrepreneur and a TV personality known for his appearances on "Shark Tank," made some grave accusations against Binance, which he called "his opinions."
O'Leary: Binance got rid of FTX and then became a monopoly
Speaking on yesterday's Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing, O'Leary said: "These two behemoths that own the unregulated market together and released incredible businesses in terms of growth were at war with each other. And the one put the other one out of business, intentionally." Next, he went on to state that "Binance is a massive unregulated global monopoly."
Earlier in his speech, he provided juicy details that drove him to such conclusions. When things went wild at FTX, O'Leary had a rough talk with Sam Bankman-Fried about the money, during which SBF mentioned the transaction of repurchasing FTX's shares from Binance. O'Leary wasn't aware that at some point, Binance acquired 20% ownership of SBF's company.
Binance wanted ca. $3 billion from FTX
The buyback price was almost $3 billion, a staggering amount that was fixed based on "an extraordinary valuation" of close to $32 billion. The reason SBF gave for repurchasing the shares was related to alleged efforts by Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, the head of Binance, to prevent FTX from getting regulatory clearances.
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"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, he withheld it," said O'Leary. In these circumstances, the only option for SBF was to buy out the shares from Binance, which stripped the company's balance sheets of assets.
Before investing in FTX O'Leary considered crypto as "garbage"
Obviously, these arguments merit further inspection, even though O'Leary cannot be considered an unbiased party in the investigation of FTX's collapse. In a recent interview with CNBC, "Mr. Wonderful" admitted to receiving $15 million for his spokesperson role at FTX and losing all of it when the exchange went insolvent. He also held over $1 million of FTX equity, now worthless.
O'Leary's speech at the U.S. Congress and his earlier defense of FTX sparked acrid commentaries from the crypto crowd, some bringing up O'Leary's "surprising" somersault on cryptocurrencies after naming Bitcoin as "crypto garbage" a few years back.
The whole hearing, titled "Crypto Crash: "Why the FTX Bubble Burst and the Harm to Consumers," is available on Senate Banking Housing and Urban Affairs Committee's YouTube channel.