Ripple CEO Criticizes SEC for Losing Focus on Investor Protection

UTC by Chimamanda U. Martha · 4 min read
Ripple CEO Criticizes SEC for Losing Focus on Investor Protection
Photo: World Economic Forum / Flickr

Garlinghouse emphasized the need for the SEC to reassess its regulatory approach, moving away from a pattern of enforcement through lawsuits.

During the just-concluded Ripple’s Swell conference in Dubai, the company’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse shared his views regarding the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) role in protecting consumers against bad actors.

In an interview with CNBC’s Dan Murphy, Garlinghouse stated that, in his opinion, the SEC has strayed from its commitment to investor protection, questioning the agency’s priorities in the process.

“I think the SEC, in my opinion, has lost sight of their mission to protect investors. And the question is, who are they protecting in this journey?” Garlinghouse told CNBC.

Ripple’s Win Is a Positive Step for the Industry

Garlinghouse’s opinion stemmed from the SEC’s enforcement actions against the crypto industry, as the agency has chosen a litigious approach to regulating the emerging economy instead of working with Congress to introduce befitting regulations for the crypto space.

In 2020, the financial watchdog sued Ripple alongside two executives, including the CEO, for orchestrating a $1.3 billion securities fraud by selling XRP to retail investors in the US.

The lawsuit centered around Ripple’s failure to register the continuous sale of XRP tokens, leaving investors without essential information about the digital asset and Ripple’s business activities.

After over two years of court battles between the SEC and Ripple, US District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan finally ruled in July that XRP is not a security and possesses no qualities of a security token.

The SEC’s request for an interlocutory appeal was subsequently denied, and in October, the agency dropped securities law violation charges against Garlinghouse and another Ripple executive, Chris Larsen.

Garlinghouse, reflecting on the developments, expressed optimism not only for Ripple but for the entire industry. He sees the SEC being put in check as a positive step, hoping it will pave the way for the crypto industry to flourish in the United States.

“I think it is a positive step for the industry, not just for Ripple, not just for Chris and Brad, but for the whole industry, that the SEC has been put in check in the United States. And I’m hopeful this will be a thawing of the permafrost in the United States for really seeing an amazing industry that has immense potential to thrive in the largest economy in the world,” Garlinghouse told CNBC.

Ripple to Hire 80% of Employees Outside the US

In criticizing the SEC’s regulatory strategy, Garlinghouse drew parallels with other legal battles in the industry. The Ripple CEO referenced Grayscale’s victory regarding a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), where a federal judge accused the SEC of being “arbitrary and capricious.”

Garlinghouse emphasized the need for the SEC to reassess its regulatory approach, moving away from a pattern of enforcement through lawsuits.

“Generally, judges tend to be pretty down the middle and try not to be dramatic — those are damning words. So I think at some point the SEC has to step back and realize that their regulatory approach through enforcement, let’s bring lawsuits, has to break,” said he.

Garlinghouse, influenced by the SEC’s regulatory style against the industry, asserted that Ripple had redirected its recruitment focus to other jurisdictions.

During a September interview at the Token2049 conference in Singapore, he outlined the company’s strategy to recruit 80% of its workforce from countries he deemed more proficient in crypto regulation.

Expressing his dissatisfaction, Garlinghouse pointed out the contrast in markets like Singapore, where governments collaborate with the industry, provide explicit regulations, and witness substantial growth.

“It’s super frustrating to see markets like we have here in Singapore … where the governments are partnering with the industry, and you’re seeing leadership providing clear rules and growth. And frankly, that’s why Ripple is hiring there,” explained the CEO.

Blockchain News, Cryptocurrency News, News
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