US ‘the only country’s crypto startups should avoid, says Ripple CEO


The United States is one of — if not the worst — place to launch a cryptocurrency startup in the world right now, according to Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse, whose firm is in a legal battle with the U.S. securities regulator.

“The only country I would not encourage you to start a company right now is in the U.S.,” Garlinghouse said on a Sept. 12 panel at Token 2049 in Singapore.

The Ripple boss wants the U.S. to take note from the likes of Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland by enacting policies that encourage crypto innovation while protecting consumers.

Bloomberg’s Annabelle Droulers (left) moderating a panel with Garlinghouse (center-left), OKX’s Hong Fang (center-right) and BitGo’s Mike Belshe (right). Source: Andrew Fenton/Cointelegraph

Garlinghouse pointed the blame at the Securities and Exchange Commission, claiming it was engaging in a political war with the industry with its lawsuits.

That lawsuit strategy isn’t working, said Garlinghouse, and claimed Ripple and Grayscale’s court wins over the SEC may suggest the court’s mood is turning in the industry’s favor.

“I think you’re seeing the momentum shift. I think that it used to be that a lot of judges were like: ‘Well, the SEC is always right,’ and they weren’t fighting that [but] I think you’re starting to see the pattern change.”

While the outcomes in Ripple and Grayscale aren’t legally binding, Garlinghouse said the results provide more clarity to crypto exchanges and custody providers operating in the U.S. — at least for now.

OKX president Hong Fang acknowledged the politics at play but stressed for crypto firms to focus on what they can control.

“We can only control what we can control, which is to build the right product and to focus on the technology and to support responsible regulation.”

Despite the U.S. being a big market for Ripple, Garlinghouse said it’s expanding services to countries he claims are more progressive and better understand the potential benefits of blockchain technology.

We might not ready for a spot Bitcoin ETF

During the panel, Fang said he thinks investors may not be ready for custody solutions built around a prospective spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund because much of the new blockchain-based infrastructure hasn’t been battle tested by the masses.

“I think there’s a huge implication on custody […] The question I have on my mind is whether our industry is actually ready for it” he said.

Related: Crypto community jubilant over Grayscale decision, but uncertainty remains

Fang acknowledged a spot Bitcoin ETF will lead to more institutional inflows but isn’t convinced that investors can now stomach Bitcoin’s volatility and second guessed the readiness of continuing to build more applications on top of Bitcoin.

“We are actually creating something that is new, that we can build on top of, a new monetary system that hasn't come to fruition yet,” Fang said. “So I don’t know whether we’re ready for that yet from an industry infrastructure perspective.”

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