Ripple CEO Challenges SEC’s Approach, Calls for Crypto-Friendly Regulations

ByGavin Cole

Nov 13, 2023

At the Ripple Swell conference in Dubai, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse criticized the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its aggressive enforcement tactics in the crypto industry, arguing that these actions have stifled growth rather than protecting investors.

Ripple CEO Critiques SEC’s Regulatory Approach

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse, in a conversation with CNBC’s Dan Murphy at the Ripple Swell conference in Dubai, voiced his criticism of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) current approach towards the cryptocurrency industry.

He argued that the SEC’s actions have not effectively protected investors, and a reevaluation of their regulatory strategy is necessary.

Garlinghouse raised concerns about the actual beneficiaries of the SEC’s current regulatory focus, openly questioning, “Who are they protecting in this journey?” According to him, the SEC’s enforcement-centric approach has hindered the growth and development of the crypto sector rather than fostering a safe investment environment.

Emphasizing the need for change, Garlinghouse advocated for a new regulatory framework specifically designed for the digital asset industry. He highlighted the importance of such a framework being tailor-made to accommodate the unique characteristics and nuances of digital assets, which differ significantly from traditional financial instruments.

Legal Battles and Ripple’s Triumph in Court

The backdrop to Garlinghouse’s criticism is a protracted legal battle between Ripple and the SEC. The regulatory body had accused Ripple and its top executives of conducting a $1.3 billion securities fraud involving the sale of XRP tokens to retail investors.

However, in a landmark decision in July favoring Ripple, a judge ruled that XRP does not constitute a security, marking a crucial turning point in the ongoing legal dispute.

Garlinghouse further pointed to another significant legal victory in the crypto sphere involving Grayscale, a digital asset management firm. In the context of Grayscale’s application for a Bitcoin ETF, a federal judge criticized the SEC’s approach as “arbitrary and capricious.”

The CEO commented on the judicial remarks about the SEC’s approach, noting that such strong criticism from typically neutral judges is indicative of the severity of the issue.

He believes that the SEC might reconsider its regulatory strategy, acknowledging that its lawsuit-focused enforcement has not only been counterproductive but has also hampered innovation within the U.S. crypto industry.

Advocating for Federal Crypto Legislation

Expressing optimism for future regulatory changes, Garlinghouse highlighted the need for the U.S. government to adopt a more proactive stance in overseeing the digital assets industry.

This shift, according to him, should begin with the introduction of new laws specifically tailored for digital assets. He stressed that to foster a thriving crypto sector in the U.S., it’s imperative to move beyond the current norm of defining regulations through litigation.

Garlinghouse called on Congress to enact federal laws governing digital currencies, underscoring the necessity of breaking free from the prevailing pattern of regulation through enforcement actions.

He reiterated his position that XRP should not be classified as a security and emphasized that clear federal laws could bring much-needed clarity and stability to the industry.

As Ripple continues its legal battle with the SEC, the focus now shifts to the remedies discovery process. According to a proposed schedule, the SEC has a 90-day window starting from November 9 to conduct related discovery. This phase will be crucial in determining the next developments in the ongoing Ripple-SEC case.

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