During the Ripple Swell 2023 conference in Dubai (Nov 8-9, 2023), Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse engaged in a candid conversation with CNBC’s Dan Murphy. He expressed strong opinions about the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the broader landscape of cryptocurrency regulation.
Garlinghouse questioned the SEC’s commitment to its mission of protecting investors, suggesting that the agency’s actions have deviated from this core objective. He pondered over whom the SEC is actually safeguarding through its regulatory endeavors:
“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?“
The discussion touched upon Ripple’s legal challenges, particularly the SEC’s December 2020 accusation of Ripple conducting a $1.3 billion securities fraud through XRP sales. Garlinghouse highlighted key victories for Ripple, including a July 2023 ruling that XRP is not inherently a security and the SEC’s subsequent withdrawal of securities law violation charges against Ripple executives.
The Ripple CEO expressed optimism about the industry’s future, seeing these legal developments as beneficial not just for Ripple but for the entire crypto sector:
“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.”
He hopes for a shift from litigation-driven regulation to more concrete federal laws governing digital currencies.
Garlinghouse criticized the SEC’s repetitive approach to regulation through enforcement, implying that it’s an ineffective and unproductive strategy:
“One of the things that people talk about is, one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and thinking you’ll get a different outcome, the SEC is doing the same thing over and over again. And they think, I guess, they’re gonna get a different outcome at some point.“
He referenced Grayscale’s recent victory regarding a spot Bitcoin ETF as another example of the SEC’s flawed approach:
“Generally, judges tend to be pretty down the middle and try to not be dramatic — those are damning words. So I think at some point, the SEC has to step back and realize that their approach of regulation through enforcement, let’s just bring lawsuits, that has to break.“