A senior Ripple employee has called upon the British government to rethink its wait-and-see attitude towards blockchain regulation and bring about an end to the ‘Wild West’ days of cryptocurrencies.
Ripple’s Head of Regulatory Relations Ryan Zagone has called upon the UK government and its appointed technology regulators to strike a balance between “capturing risk and enabling innovation”. Zagone highlighted what he called were the essential “three pillars” of Consumer Protection, Money Laundering Policies and Financial Stability that he implored UK legal regulators to focus upon. Zagone compared the current cryptocurrencies market to the early days of the internet, and said:
“We are now at a time when more clarity, rules and security are needed. Now is a good time to rethink regulators’ “wait and see” approach.”
Not surprisingly, Zagone’s statements aren’t to everyone involved in the cyber currency industry’s satisfaction. Much of cryptocurrency’s early appeal centered around its anonymity, and even today, several currencies such as Monero and Verge revel in the level of anonymity and secrecy they can guarantee their customers.
It’s safe to say that in general, the crypto market and its main protagonists such as Bitcoin and Ethereum as well as Ripple are waiting with baited breath as to the outcome of July’s reconvening of the G20, many with genuine fear of agenda-driven and badly informed politicians making snap, possibly knee-jerk decisions. Last month’s G20 meeting resulted in a great deal of unrest within the blockchain industry, but ultimately with a message that the subject would be handled with “baby steps”. The outcome of the meeting was that the industry needed to be examined further, and that the nations involved should reconvene in July. Hence the level of apprehension that will only increase over the coming weeks and months.
UK Should Set An Example
Britain is considered an “innovation-friendly” country, especially in the areas of blockchain technology and of cryptocurrency. London in particular is considered one of the world’s leading FinTech (Financial Technology) hubs. Because of this reputation, Zagone is adamant that London in particular and the UK in general need to take an innovative role when it comes to the regulation of the cryptocurrency industry, and do so ahead of July’s G20 get-together.
According to Zagone, the UK should set an example like Japan has, which also has a leadership role in creating a regulatory system. For example, Bitcoin was recognized as a legal payment method in Japan last year. Under the latest domestic laws, every prospective cryptocurrency exchange in Japan is required to apply for a license from the country’s financial regulator. Only then may a domestic cryptocurrency exchange be allowed to operate.
According to Zagone, uniform regulation across the board is the key to a more mature and better functioning cryptocurrency market. For example, in Japan, financial giants such as SBI and Yahoo Japan are already involved in domestic crypto exchanges. Regulation is very important, especially for institutional investors. As Zagone says:
“Regulation creates a clear framework, which in particular allows institutional investors easier access to the cryptocurrency market.”
Phillip Hammond Unveils New UK Crypto Task Force
In March of this year, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled the brand new Crypto-Assets Task Force. The CATF consists of a team of sharp-minded experts chosen from such institutions the Bank of England and the Treasury, among others. The aim of this task force is to provide timely identification of the opportunities and benefits as well as the risks brought about by the introduction of cryptocurrencies.
While it is natural that the rank and file of the cryptocurrency industry has a hostility and suspicion toward such a task force and any ensuing regulations it would recommend, such regulations may not have to mean anything bad for the crypto market, as long as innovation remains unrestricted, and barriers to entry are not set too high.
Of course, Ripple and Ryan Zagone will look at any regulations Hammond and his task force recommend as a positive thing, because unlike the majority of cryptocurrencies, Ripple was developed not for covert transactions, but to be used for superfast transactions in the banking and finance industries. Ripple has no need for the high levels of anonymity and secrecy that many other cryptos swear by, because that is not Ripple’s market.
Ripple is the 3rd largest blockchain-based currency because it is the most likely of all cryptos to achieve mainstream success, and to one day be as commonplace a feature in banking and financial transactions as Visa and PayPal. In that respect, Ripple are pretty much regulation-proof, something not many other cryptos can lay claim to being!