On September 6, 2023, Chris Larsen, the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Ripple Labs, sat down for an interview with Ed Ludlow, co-host of Bloomberg Technology, which is a daily tech news show on Bloomberg TV.
U.S. Crypto Policy Criticisms
Larsen was highly critical of the United States’ approach to cryptocurrency and blockchain regulation. He expressed disappointment that the Biden administration’s policies have pushed the crypto industry offshore. According to Larsen, this has resulted in cities like London, Singapore, and Dubai becoming the new global capitals for blockchain, at the expense of San Francisco and the U.S. at large. Larsen lamented that San Francisco, once the blockchain capital of the world, has lost that title.
“They pretty much killed San Francisco from being what it was. We owned it and we don’t anymore because the Biden administration, for whatever reason, decided they want to push this industry offshore.“
He attributed this loss to poor decisions at both the city and federal levels. He went as far as to say that San Francisco’s current 30% vacancy rate might have been halved if the city had maintained its status as the global blockchain hub.
Ripple Labs and the SEC
Discussing Ripple Labs’ ongoing legal battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Larsen stated that the SEC had lost on all significant aspects related to the regulation of the crypto industry. He viewed this as a groundbreaking moment and good news for the industry. However, he criticized the SEC’s approach of “regulation by enforcement,” calling for clear rules to be established by Congress instead.
Larsen also had strong words for Gary Gensler, the head of the SEC. He accused Gensler of preferring a lack of regulatory clarity so that he could “make up the rules as he goes along through bullying.”
Larsen called this approach un-American and emphasized that clear rules should come from elected legislators, not “power-hungry” decision-makers:
“That’s not the American way. We should have clear rules from the legislatures, not through these unelected, power-hungry and really misplaced decision-makers that you see in Gary Gensler.“
The Need for Clear Rules
Larsen stressed the importance of having clear, well-defined rules that protect consumers while also fostering innovation. He contrasted the U.S.’s lack of clear guidelines with places like London, Singapore, and Dubai, where he said the rules are clear and designed to both protect consumers and encourage innovation.
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