Dec 13, 2022 - Economy

Crypto, you have our attention now

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The only thing moving faster than this year's crypto collapse is its aftermath.

Why it matters: Authorities, courts and lawmakers — who for years largely observed the industry's rapid growth from the sidelines — are now elbowing each other out of the way to get involved as confidence in the industry crumbles, and new shoes drop.

The latest: Sam Bankman-Fried, whose face became synonymous with crypto, was charged today with eight counts of fraud, conspiracy, campaign finance violations and money laundering.

  • Only a day earlier, the FTX founder was readying for a remote appearance before the House Financial Services Committee.

The intrigue: He was arrested by Bahamian authorities late Monday at the request of the U.S. Government. But that caught another part of the U.S. Government completely by surprise.

  • "My staff and I have been working diligently for the past month to secure Mr. Bankman-Fried’s testimony before our Committee tomorrow morning," committee chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) said in a statement.
  • SBF was still scheduled to appear, "but then he was arrested," Waters added.

The timing of arrest was "dictated by law enforcement," U.S. Attorney Damien Williams said in a press conference.

Meanwhile, a battle is heating up between FTX's U.S. bankruptcy team and Bahamian authorities: both are claiming jurisdiction, and openly accusing the other of foul play. U.S. regulators also jumped into the fray today.

  • The SEC filed a civil complaint, while the CFTC charged SBF and his companies with fraud, in connection with the loss of over $8 billion in FTX customer deposits.

The bottom line: Crypto, a once little understood corner of finance, now has everyone's attention.

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