Binance’s CZ and the End of the ‘Borderless’ Crypto Company

U.S. law might disagree. In 2022, BitMEX Founders pled guilty to violating U.S, anti-money laundering laws, even though BitMEX was based in the Seychelles. And then, of course, came FTX. FTX was based in Hong Kong and then moved to the Bahamas. Sam Bankman-Fried desperately wanted to make it in the United States, paying huge sums of money for celebrity endorsements and stadium naming rights, all while trying to woo politicians in Washington. In the end, FTX’s global operation never made it into the U.S., with the exception of the much smaller and less powerful FTX.US. Instead, Bankman-Fried ended up getting torn apart by U.S. prosecutors in a U.S. court.

How Japan Is Leading the Race to Regulate Stablecoins

At the same time, stablecoins’ prominence in the crypto industry has led to widespread concerns about their so-called stability. In May of 2022, the algorithmic stablecoin project Terra Luna collapsed, leading to losses of billions of dollars in value. There has long been widespread concern about the world’s dominant stablecoin, Tether, which the New York Times called “The Coin that Could Wreck Crypto.” The fear is a run on the bank scenario in which investors en masse try to redeem their stablecoins for dollars, for example, only to find that there are not enough dollars to make them whole.

Michael Lewis Was Charmed by Sam Bankman-Fried – But So Was Everyone Else

The book’s relatively sympathetic treatment of Sam becomes more striking in contrast to depictions of his adversaries, such as Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao. Before the book was published, a letter from Creative Artists Agency circulating in Hollywood said Lewis likened Sam and CZ “to the Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader of crypto.” Traces of this characterization still made it into the finished book. “Binance was the class bully, FTX the class nerd, and each took pleasure in using its special powers to torment the other,” Lewis wrote. He also said, “Sam thought about the size of the pie, while CZ cared more about the size of his piece.” There’s also some gratuitous shade, such as, “If CZ ever had an original thought he never expressed it.”

Why Threads Got 100 Million Users When Other Twitter Rivals Could Not

Before going any further, let’s be clear: Threads will not necessarily be a huge success. Sometimes platforms arrive with a bang only to fade into cultural irrelevance – remember Clubhouse? But again: Threads got 100 million users in five days, and that number could still grow. Rival upstarts simply have not gained that kind of traction. Mastodon claims to have around 2 million monthly active users. It’s hard to get exact numbers for the decentralized social media protocol Nostr, but an estimate based on Damus and Amethyst downloads is likely around 500,000 to 1 million, according to Damus. The invite-only Bluesky had some 50,000 users at the end of April, and since then got at least 58,000 new sign ups. These numbers aren’t bad, but these are the relatively successful rivals, not the ones you haven’t even heard about.

Don’t Overlook Tokyo and Hong Kong as Crypto Hot Spots

The two Far East financial hubs take a comprehensive approach to overseeing crypto, and are likely to attract businesses from around the world. They don’t appear on CoinDesk’s Crypto Hubs 2023 ranking of the 15 best places to live and work for crypto professionals, but they should not be ignored.

Seoul: Asia’s Retail Crypto Capital Moves on After Do Kwon

The capital city of Seoul is in the top tier for regulatory structure and scored high for ease of doing business and digital infrastructure – all criteria in which the government has a strong influence. Its grassroots’ embrace of crypto puts the country within the top 15% of the world in the crypto adoption index. But as the most populous hub in our final 15, it was hurt by a low opportunities score, which is a measurement of per-capita crypto jobs, companies and events. The sparse postings could be due to a cultural or language barrier, however, as we measured activity on Linkedin, Eventbrite and

Central Bank Digital Currencies Are Unexpectedly Becoming a Presidential Election Issue

Most Americans spend little time thinking about central bank digital currencies, if they even know what they are. For those who don’t, CBDCs are digital forms of national currencies, issued by a country’s central bank. The United States Federal Reserve has no plans to issue a digital dollar. And yet, potential presidential candidates in next year’s election are already sounding an alarm.

“Expect this CBDC issue to become a presidential campaign talking point,” said Ron Hammond, director of government relations at Blockchain Association. “Perfect intersection of fear of government, China and finance collapse with the bank crisis.”

Indeed, a number of potential presidential candidates have recently taken a strong stance against CBDCs. Opponents paint a future digital dollar as a government attempt to monitor and even control citizen transactions. A CBDC could theoretically be designed so it could be used for certain items but not others. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested that the government could use a CBDC to restrict purchases of gas or prevent you from buying too many rifles.

Emily Parker is CoinDesk’s executive director of global content.

DeSantis went as far as to propose legislation to ban the use of CBDCs in Florida. “The Biden administration’s efforts to inject a Centralized Bank Digital Currency is about surveillance and control,” DeSantis said in the press release. Just this week, the bill passed the Florida legislature. Then on Wednesday, North Carorlina’s House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill banning digital dollar payments to the state.

Another potential presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democrat, used similar language to oppose CBDCs. “We should be wary since CBDCs are the ultimate mechanisms for social surveillance and control,” he said.

Yet another possible candidate, the Republican Vivek Ramaswamy, recently tweeted, “Every GOP candidate needs a clear answer to CBDCs: hell no.”

While Kennedy’s statement demonstrates that anti-CBDC sentiment isn’t a purely partisan issue, it does appear to be an increasingly popular Republican talking point. In March, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show to explain why she vetoed a central bank digital currency bill. The video was featured in a Fox News opinion piece titled, “Politicians are quietly preparing for a digital dollar. It’s not good for your freedom.”

Other well-known Republican politicians have voiced their skepticism of CBDCs, while stopping short of proposing an outright ban. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, for example, introduced legislation to prohibit the Fed from unilaterally creating a direct-to-consumer CBDC. The bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

Expect this CBDC issue to become a presidential campaign talking point. Perfect intersection of fear of government, China and finance collapse with the bank crisis.

In February, Majority Whip Republican Tom Emmer introduced the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act, which was co-sponsored by nine Republicans. “Any digital version of the dollar must uphold our American values of privacy, individual sovereignty and free market competitiveness,” Emmer said. “Anything less opens the door to the development of a dangerous surveillance tool.”

Warren Davidson (R-OH) also recently issued a condemnation of states’ legalizing CBDCs. “Governments around the world are taking steps to establish a Chinese-style, centralized currency that would give the government more control over our lives,” Davidson said.

The urgency of some of this language might give the impression that a digital dollar is right around the corner, but that is far from the case.

It’s true that more than 100 countries are developing a CBDC, with 11 countries having already launched one. China’s digital yuan is the most famous example. But the United States has been very cautious about the idea of issuing a digital dollar, largely because of privacy concerns. The current U.S. position is essentially: We should give this more thought.

Last year, a White House executive order directed the U.S. Government “to assess the technological infrastructure and capacity needs for a potential U.S. CBDC in a manner that protects Americans’ interests.” Late last year, MIT and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston completed their own “agnostic” CBDC research. This year, Treasury Undersecretary Nellie Liang said that policymakers are still deliberating about whether to have a CBDC, and if so, what form it would take. “The Fed has also emphasized that it would only issue a CBDC with the support of the executive branch and Congress, and more broadly the public,” Liang said.

It is also likely that CBDC use would be intermediated by the private sector, rather than managed directly by the Federal Reserve. “An intermediated model would facilitate the use of the private sector’s existing privacy and identity-management frameworks,” according to the Fed.

These statements are not enough to appease CBDC opponents, however. In April, the Federal Reserve tweeted that it has made no decision on issuing a central bank digital currency and “would not do so without clear support from Congress and executive branch, ideally in the form of a specific authorizing law.” DeSantis and others jumped on the word “ideal” to cast skepticism on the Fed’s claim.

Congress has been talking about CBDCs since at least 2021 when Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) wrote a letter to the Federal Reserve urging research of a U.S. CBDC, said Jennifer Lassiter, executive director of the Digital Dollar Project. The Digital Dollar Project is a non-profit, non-governmental organization devoted to catalyzing private sector research and experimentation of a potential US CBDC. “Since then the dialogue has ebbed and flowed with a more recent bump in attention as a result of proposed anti-CBDC legislation in Congress and political speeches by republican candidates,” Lassiter said.

What’s notable about the Republican opposition is that it’s not entirely clear who’s on the other side. “While it’s true there’s a Republican opposition, there’s not necessarily a strong Democratic support,” said Josh Lipsky, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center.

There are some exceptions, of course. Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat, proposed a U.S. CBDC and outlined some of the benefits. But Democrats are hardly rallying around a pro-digital dollar agenda. In fact, it’s not clear if anyone really is.

“There aren’t a lot of CBDC champions. Even the Fed themselves have said, very cautiously: we’re studying it, better to get it right than get it first,” said Lipsky. A Fed paper on the topic outlined both benefits and downsides, while noting that preserving privacy was a key consideration.

So why are people getting so worked up about this now? A number of politicians with similar talking points might suggest some influence by consultants, lobbyists or other outside groups. The CATO Institute, for example, has been very vocal in its opposition to CBDCs. CATO published a paper and also polled Americans about their views on CBDCs – and found that most people were unfamiliar with them. Another group that would have an interest in opposing CBDCs are U.S. stablecoin issuers. USDC issuer Circle, for one, has been outspoken about its opposition to CBDCs.

Criticism of China, a familiar talking point in U.S. presidential elections, comes up again and again in anti-CBDC talking points. “Centralized currency provides an avenue for the controlling entity to push an agenda. This is exactly what China is doing with its centralized digital currency,” DeSantis’s press secretary Bryan Griffin said.

While it’s true there’s a Republican opposition, there’s not necessarily a strong Democratic support.

Emmer’s bill was co-sponsored by nine Republicans, several of whom directly mentioned China directly. “The Chinese Communist Party’s move to use government-run digital currency to impose further control on its people and its economy is a cautionary tale that America must avoid,” said Rep. Mike Flood, a Republican.

China is indeed the most visible champion of this technology. While the digital yuan is still far from ubiquitous in China, it still covers 13.6 billion RMB, 260 million wallets and 25 cities, according to Ananya Kumar at the Atlantic Council. It may not be so scary to think of a CBDC as one form of payment, co-existing alongside cash, stablecoins and decentralized cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. But China’s CBDC project is so ambitious that it’s not impossible to conceive of Beijing pulling levers to incentivize citizens to primarily rely on digital yuan.

China’s Central Bank has claimed that privacy is an important consideration for its digital yuan. But extensive reports of Chinese surveillance have led to skepticism in this area.

It is extremely unlikely, of course, that a theoretical digital dollar would be identical to a digital yuan. And some would argue that China’s ambitions should light a fire under Washington. Digital Dollar Project co-founder and executive chairman Chris Giancarlo, a speaker at CoinDesk’s Consensus festival, argues that the U.S. has an opportunity to lead with a digital currency that protects privacy rather than encourages surveillance.

It’s not just China, of course. DeSantis’s criticism of CBDCs goes hand in hand with larger criticism of the Federal Reserve and of the Biden administration more general. “The track record of the establishment throughout COVID and under this administration speaks for itself and leaves plenty of room for concern,” DeSantis’s press secretary Bryan Griffin said. He also pointed to Canada, mentioning the freezing of bank accounts of Canadian protestors.

DeSantis also depicted CBDCs as an example of Davos elites backdooring “woke ideology” like Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) into the U.S. financial system.

While the CBDC issue is likely to come up in the presidential campaign cycle, it is hard to imagine it becoming a central issue. It is even harder to imagine even a single American voter casting a ballot based on this issue. But that doesn’t mean the political debate won’t have a discernible effect. The most immediate impact could be on research.

“Experimentation and innovation is happening around CBDC with U.S. companies,” Lassiter of the Digital Dollar Project said. But “perhaps the sharing of the results of that experimentation is limited and slowed in a politically divisive environment. Innovation is continuing, the question is whether companies are willing to lead on experimentation for a U.S. CBDC if there is political disagreement about the need for research at all.”

“It’s very important to be cognizant and work diligently on the privacy issues,” said Lipsky of the Atlantic Council. “I hope that this discourse doesn’t have a chilling effect on the Fed’s research.”

At the very least, raising CBDCs to the level of national politics will bring more Americans into the conversation. Even if some of the digital dollars discussed on the campaign trail will bear little resemblance to anything that would ever exist.

Emily Parker is CoinDesk’s executive director of global content. She was member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, a writer/editor at The Wall Street Journal and editor at New York Times. She is author of “Now I Know Who my Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground” (FSG). She speaks Chinese, Japanese, French and Spanish.

Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.

Emily Parker is CoinDesk’s executive director of global content. She was member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, a writer/editor at The Wall Street Journal and editor at New York Times. She is author of “Now I Know Who my Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground” (FSG). She speaks Chinese, Japanese, French and Spanish.

As Justice Is Sought for Do Kwon, South Korea’s Crypto Scene Emerges From Terra Luna’s Shadow

Earlier this year, Korean media reported that lawmakers were working on the Digital Asset Basic Act (DABA), which collectively refers to 17 draft bills that largely focus on investor protection. As of now, none of these bills have passed. “We were on the way to make some new crypto legislation, especially after the new presidential administration started. But so far there has been almost no new regulation, only discussions in Parliament,” said Jongbaek Park, a partner at Bae, Kim and Lee.