(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation issued letters to five companies, including crypto exchange FTX US, demanding that they take immediate steps to correct “false or misleading statements” about certain products being eligible for insurance protection.
The action shows the US agency is ramping up its efforts to crack down on businesses, particularly in the digital asset space, that it determines aren’t being transparent with customers. It has said inaccurate representations about FDIC insurance can create confusion and harm consumers.
The latest cease-and-desist letters come after FDIC and the Federal Reserve took a similar step against bankrupt crypto platform Voyager Digital LLC in July.
The US agency said in a statement Friday said that it found evidence that the five companies -- which also included Cryptonews.com, Cryptosec.info, SmartAsset.com, and FDICCrypto.com -- posted false statements on their websites and social media accounts that suggested certain crypto products or stocks held in brokerage accounts are FDIC-insured.
FTX US is the American arm of billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s trading juggernaut FTX. In its letter to the company, FDIC said comments FTX US President Brett Harrison posted to Twitter in July appeared to contain misrepresentations about deposit insurance.
Following the FDIC’s announcement, Harrison said on Twitter that he had deleted the prior post, per the agency’s instruction. “We really didn’t mean to mislead anyone, and we didn’t suggest that FTX US itself, or that crypto/non-fiat assets, benefit from FDIC insurance,” he said.
Bankman-Fried also responded on the social media platform, saying FTX US isn’t FDIC-insured and it never meant to suggest otherwise. He added: “We’re also excited to explore potential ways that individual accounts using direct deposit (which we now support) could, in the future, be used to further protect customers, and would be excited to work with the FDIC on that.”
In May, the FDIC approved regulations clarifying the regulator’s procedures for taking action against firms and people who make misleading claims about deposit insurance.
(Updates with additional details about FTX US and the company’s response beginning in the fifth paragraph.)
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