After Binance gained regulatory approval to offer crypto custody services in Abu Dhabi, macroeconomist and a known crypto critic Nouriel Roubini lambasted the cryptocurrency exchange and its CEO on stage at the Abu Dhabi Finance Week (ADFW) 2022.
In his address, Roubini expressed disbelief that Changpeng Zhao and his crypto trading platform were allowed to operate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the video of which was shared by Core Finance co-founder Yagiz Sozmen on November 16.
“Unfortunately, this ecosystem is totally corrupt, and the lesson of the last few weeks is that these people should be out of here. I can’t believe that CZ Binance has a license to operate in the UAE.”
As he explained, Binance was “banned in the UK,” Zhao is “under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for money laundering, $8 billion from Iran, and he’s here on this stage, and he has a residence in this country.”
Questioning regulatory approval
With this in mind, Roubini believes that:
“The regulator should be thinking carefully. He’s a walking time bomb. He should be kicked out of this country and should not be allowed to operate. I’m sorry to say, he’s going to get worse than Sam Bankman-Fried.”
He was referring to Binance earlier securing a Financial Services Permission (FSP) from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), allowing it to provide “custodial services to professional clients,” as the financial center announced on November 16.
Later, Roubini took to Twitter to deny he was attacking the CEO of Binance and to assert that even the crypto-friendly crowd present at the event agreed with his stance, stating that:
No lack of criticism of crypto
Meanwhile, Roubini is long known for his harsh stance on the cryptocurrency industry, denouncing digital assets as Ponzi schemes and criticizing the views of the industry supporters in considering them a perfect store of value.
In mid-2021, he argued that Bitcoin (BTC) would never become “digital gold” because, in his view, it had no utility and lacked use cases, with price volatility eliminating it as a perfect store of value.
Back then, the economist also maintained that central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) would wipe out cryptos as superior and having a broader use case even in the private sector, as Finbold reported at the time.
The recent events around the collapse of FTX have given fuel to crypto critics such as Roubini and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) vice chairman Charlie Munger, who labeled crypto a “bad combination” of “partly fraud and partly delusion” and “a currency that is good for kidnappers.”