Ripple outlines possible regulatory framework for crypto industry in US


Ripple, the company whose executives have often criticized the United States’ seeming lack of regulatory clarity on the cryptocurrency industry, has outlined its own “pragmatic” framework.

In a Tuesday post on its website, Ripple released its vision for a regulatory framework aimed at advancing innovation while protecting investors in the United States. According to the firm, regulators need to be encouraged to promote innovation sandboxes, some of the existing frameworks in the U.S. can be applied to cryptocurrencies and there should be “an active dialogue between regulators and market participants.”

Ripple advocated for the proposed measures as a way to provide regulatory clarity to all in the crypto space “in a way that an ad hoc, regulation-by-enforcement approach simply cannot.” According to CEO Brad Garlinghouse, the proposal was “designed to address and remedy the specific challenges” to the industry.

In regard to regulatory sandboxes, the company said the “safe harbor” proposed by SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce under which network developers would have a grace period to build without being subject to certain federal securities laws would be necessary to “incentivize innovation.” Ripple acknowledged such a measure may not address “many mature projects” in the space.

The company also supported legislation applying to the digital asset space currently being considered by U.S. lawmakers. The firm said the Security Clarity Act, or SCA — which would change the legal status of any asset sold as an “investment contract” to an “investment contract asset” — would help to provide regulatory clarity for cryptocurrencies.

In addition, the Digital Commodity Exchange Act would supplement the SCA when securities laws would not apply to certain token projects, essentially making them more like commodities from a regulatory standpoint. The proposed legislation could give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission the authority to oversee digital asset exchanges handling such commodities.

For addressing communication between the public and private sector, Ripple supported the Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act introduced by Representative Patrick McHenry in April. The bill aims to clarify the role of the SEC and CFTC in the country’s efforts to regulate crypto but would also require the two agencies to establish a working group focused on digital assets.

“Developing an effective policy framework for cryptocurrencies will only be possible if there is clear communication and collaboration between private and public actors,” said Ripple’s head of public policy Susan Friedman. “That is the reason why we have proactively discussed the issue on a bipartisan basis with regulators and members of Congress […] These conversations have helped shape our perspective on the type of regulatory clarity the industry and broader ecosystem need from regulators, as well as the type of requirements regulators should demand from the industry.”

Related: US isn’t prepared to regulate new industries like crypto, says Ripple CTO

Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen, Garlinghouse, and CTO David Schwartz have all voiced concerns about the “patchwork” of regulations under which crypto firms are forced to navigate to operate in the United States. Though the company’s current headquarters are in San Francisco, the executives have previously hinted they were exploring leaving the U.S. behind for a “more friendly jurisdiction.”

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