Information Minister Melford Nicholas says the seeming collapse of FTX should not negate the business environment in Antigua and Barbuda nor should there be a call to end the wider digital currency sector.
FTX was run as a personal business of former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and in the highest-profile crypto blowup to date, FTX filed for protection in the United States after traders pulled $6 billion from the platform in three days and rival exchange finance abandoned a rescue deal.
The collapse has left an estimated 1 million creditors facing losses totaling billions of dollars.
“Often in these matters, people may adopt a position of inferiority. In the scheme of business and a free enterprise environment, many companies start and never make it to the finish line. Many businesses go through development cycles and at the end of the day if any company fails, it sets in motion what should happen to the next cycle of regulations,” Nicholas aid
He said the cryptocurrency industry is “young” and many companies in the offshore sector would have gone through a similar situation.
“The same thing happened in offshore gaming, a savings and loan crisis in the US, the meltdown of the MCI, and several other financial crises. That does not negate the business environment in these locations nor should it negate the business here…What it should do is observe what happened and learn from the experience and put the further mechanism in place to protect would-be stakeholders,” he added.
Nicholas said the government is willing to assist investigators should they require any information from Antigua and Barbuda.
“There are no trading operations that were taken here and it’s a bit of a stress for anyone to indicate that there is any culpability on behalf of our jurisdiction. Our regulations and legislation are still available for anyone to inspect and to be able to determine what could become of this,” he said
All this comes as residents in the Bahamas say they are having to contend with vacant apartments and the loss of job opportunities once provided by the collapsed exchange.
Following the collapse of FTX, which was headquartered in the island country of Bahamas, Bahamians are reportedly still trying to find a way to make sense of everything, while remaining optimistic about the future.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the island country — which had encouraged cryptocurrency companies to feel at home with their “copacetic regulatory touch” — has been rocked by the implosion of FTX.
FTX’s sudden implosion has left a trail of unemployment and the report said while functioning at full capacity, FTX employed locals, as it reportedly spent over “$100,000 a week on catering” and also set up a private shuttle service to transport workers around the island.
FTX also hired several local Bahamians in areas such as logistics, events planning, and regulatory compliance, according to the WSJ.
With the collapse of FTX, many high-spending foreigners who worked for the company and once boosted the local economy have reportedly fled the island, leaving Bahamian security guards to now guard “nearly vacant buildings.”
On Oct. 18, Cointelegraph reported that the Bahamas‘ securities regulator ordered the transfer of FTX’s digital assets to a wallet owned by the commission “for safekeeping.”
According to a statement from the Royal Bahamas Police Force sent to Reuters on Nov 13, an investigation into possible criminal misconduct over the insolvency of FTX is underway by financial investigators and Bahamian securities regulators.