Regulation

Custodia Bank CEO slams Washington’s ‘misguided crackdown’ on crypto

The CEO of Custodia Bank, Caitlin Long, has slammed regulators and lawmakers in Washington D.C. for their “misguided crackdown” on the crypto sector and ignoring her warnings of major “fraud” allegedly conducted by now-bankrupted entities.

In a Feb. 17 blog post titled, Shame On Washington, DC For Shooting A Messenger Who Warned of Crypto Debacle, Long tore into the government for its approach to crypto regulation, failing to protect investors and alienating good actors in the space:

“Washington’s misguided crackdown will only push risks into the shadows, leaving regulators to play whack-a-mole as the risks continuously pop up in unexpected places.”

Long stressed that with her digital asset custody firm, she’s “been calling out the worst of crypto while trying to build a lawful, compliant alternative that relegates scams to the trash heap. But […] most of today’s policymakers seem intent on killing the high-integrity innovators.”

The Custodia Bank CEO claimed that her efforts to work with government agencies were ultimately thrown back in her face as she recounted the spate of negative run-ins her firm has had of late. 

“Custodia was simultaneously attacked by the White House, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Kansas City Fed and Senator Dick Durbin (who conflated our non-leveraged, 100-percent liquid and solvent bank with FTX in a Senate floor speech),” she said, adding that:

“Custodia tried to become federally regulated – the very result bipartisan policymakers claim to want. Yet Custodia has been denied and now disparaged for daring to come through the front door.”

Her sentiments echo that of figures such as Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, who has suggested on multiple occasions that agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have reacted frostily to his firm’s efforts to maintain a dialogue in good faith.

Earlier this month, Armstrong also criticized the lack of regulatory clarity in the U.S. and what appears to be a “regulation by enforcement” approach following the SEC’s move to shut down Kraken’s staking services on Feb. 9.

“Today’s regulators and lawmakers in Washington are no doubt embarrassed that they failed to stop the criminals of crypto. DC is demanding scalps,” Long wrote in the blog post, adding that:

“Calls for a crackdown today are coming from many of the same policymakers who were charmed by the fraudsters. In a 180-degree turn, they’re now throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

Unheeded warnings

Over on Twitter, Long also suggested that well before the implosion of several crypto firms in 2022, she and many others had tried to warn Washington and “help law enforcement stop” major fraud, but to no avail.

Related: SEC vs. Kraken: A one-off or opening salvo in an assault on crypto?

Long publicly disclosed for the first time that she had “handed over evidence to law enforcement of probable crimes” committed by an unnamed crypto firm “months before that company imploded and stuck its millions of customers with losses.”

Kraken co-founder and CEO Jesse Powell responded to Long’s Twitter thread and corroborated her statements by noting that: “I can’t tell you how infuriating it is to have pointed out massive red flags and obviously illegal activity to regulators only to have them ignore the issues for years.”

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