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Ripple CEO calls SEC chair Gensler’s regulatory approach a ‘political liability’

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Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse openly criticized SEC chair Gary Gensler and said his rigid stance toward crypto regulation and repeated legal actions have made him a “political liability.”

Garlinghouse made the statement during an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Jan. 16. He also shared his thoughts on potential ETFs connected to other cryptocurrencies and Ripple’s outlook for 2024.

Political agenda

Garlinghouse described Gensler’s approach as unchanging and overly rigid, even after the SEC approved a Bitcoin ETF. He accused Gensler of not acting in “the best interest of the citizenry” and hindering the “long-term growth of the economy.”

He questioned the rationale behind Gensler’s consistent labeling of most crypto assets as securities, suggesting it reflects a political agenda rather than an economic or protective one. Garlinghouse added:

“I think Gary Gensler is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting to win in court, despite repeated losses.”

The Ripple CEO contrasted the U.S. regulatory environment with more proactive approaches in the EU and other jurisdictions. He expressed concern about the U.S. lagging in establishing comprehensive crypto regulations, potentially impacting its competitive stance globally.

However, he also forecasted possible legislative movements in 2024 because it is an election year. He added that the U.S. has not been left behind yet and will remain competitive if the regulatory landscape shifts to a more positive direction.

Garlinghouse said that stablecoin regulation was the most likely to come into force soon due to their widespread use — echoing the sentiments of Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire.

ETFs and 2024 outlook

The Ripple CEO also shared his thoughts on the broader implications of the SEC’s decision to approve a Bitcoin ETF and how it might affect the future of ETFs for other cryptos, such as Ethereum (ETH).

Garlinghouse said the rapid increase in ETH’s value following the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs indicates the market’s appetite for broader ETF offerings. He said:

“I think it’s a certainty. I’m not going to put a horizon on the time, but I think there will be other ETFs for sure.”

However, he did not confirm whether Ripple would pursue an ETF offering.

Shifting the focus to Ripple, Garlinghouse talked about the company’s expansion into new markets and services, including payment solutions and custody services. He mentioned Ripple’s robust financial standing as a foundation for future growth and possible acquisitions.

He shared a positive outlook for the crypto market in 2024, emphasizing the company’s commitment to compliance and solving real customer problems. He also commented on the evolving dynamics of tech investments, indicating a shift towards more stable and mature market environments.

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