FTX US president says crypto prices being driven by institutional players

on Mar 3, 2022
  • The president of FTX US has refuted claims that the crypto space will be used by sanctioned individuals.
  • The recent spike in activity across the crypto market was caused by institutional players.
  • He noted that exchanges had tools in place to prevent sanctioned individuals from exchanging fiat into crypto.

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Brett Harrison, the President of FTX US, has stated that the largest share of FTX volumes comes from institutional investors. This week, the cryptocurrency market has made a notable recovery, with the entire market cap pushing above $2 trillion after dropping to below $1.5 trillion last week.

Concerns over crypto use amid Russia sanctions

There have been increased concerns over the use of cryptocurrencies by Russian oligarchs and sanctioned individuals. This has resulted in increased calls for crypto exchanges to halt their services in Russia.

However, the crypto sector has done a lot of good during the Russia-Ukraine crisis. More than $36 million worth of crypto has been donated to wallet addresses that have been publicly verified by the Ukrainian government. A significant amount has also been donated to charity organizations in the country.

In an interview with CNBC, Harrison, these donations could be behind the rally witnessed across the cryptocurrency charts. Harrison has noted that it is “largely untrue” that sanctioned individuals could turn towards cryptocurrencies to avoid the sanctions. He noted that exchanges that facilitate the conversion of fiat currency into crypto had tools that can detect Russian individuals.

Harrison also noted that FTX was bound by the regulations of the markets where they operated from. Hence, if there were sanctions against certain individuals, FTX was provided with a list that would enable them to comply with these sanctions.

Rally is coming from institutional investors

Harrison noted that the recent spike in activity in the cryptocurrency market was attributed to large institutions. These institutions were buying cryptocurrencies, as it is performing better than the securities market that has been affected by the geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The executive also noted that most of the volumes on FTX came from institutional liquidity. Institutional players were trading from the anxiety across the market, creating high activity in the crypto charts compared to the securities market. Yesterday, Bitcoin (BTC/USD) climbed to $44,000 after plunging to below $35,000 last week after Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, announced a “special military operation” into Ukraine. The recovery has enabled the crypto market to outperform the securities market.