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Ripple’s Asheesh Birla: US has to be proactive in regulating digital assets

Rakshitha Narasimhan

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Ripple's Asheesh Birla: US has to be proactive in regulating digital assets
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Cryptocurrencies have grown at a rapid rate over the past few years gaining attention from investors and financial institutions across the globe and this meteoric rise has resulted in lawmakers regulating the digital assets

The US, however, hasn’t particularly taken the lead in working to regulate virtual currencies. In a recent panel discussion, Asheesh Birla, SVP of Product and Corporate Development at Ripple, was the opinion that the United States had to come up with a digital asset framework and that they should be pro-active in this area. Further commenting on other countries that already had a framework in place, he stated,

“Whereas in the UK, it’s come out with a token, a framework, which is great. Singapore is really friendly towards fintech and also the crypto companies[…] The last thing that I think needs to happen before we have real big institutional adoption in the US is regulations. You have to get the right kinds of regulations That’s a big game-changer”

Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, Rod Hall, who was also present at the discussion added that along with regulation, there is a need for clarity around cryptocurrencies in the US. 

Interestingly, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s  Julie Stitzel had stated in 2019 that the US, as the largest economy in the world, must think differently about applying existing regulatory and supervisory principles to digital assets—including cryptocurrency. She had stated,

“Appropriately classifying digital assets and determining the federal entity with the jurisdiction to regulate and supervise them is one way to provide regulatory clarity for innovators and signal that the United States is a leader in the digital asset space.”

Additionally, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently stated that new bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulations were on their way. He stated,

“We are about to roll out some significant new requirements. We want to make sure that technology moves forward; on the other hand, we want to make sure cryptocurrencies aren’t used for the equivalent of old Swiss secret number banking.”

Amid these discussions around regulations around digital assets, Diogo Monica, co-founder and President of Anchorage opined that Libra, however, was sure to be launched this year. The reason why Libra’s exciting was because Facebook‘s stablecoin was the first project that already had the chicken and egg problem solved.

Explaining further, he stated,

“If you have 2.4 billion relationships and even though it is known that Calibra will not launch directly integrated with Facebook itself, but making that connection easy would actually bootstrap the hardest part that we’ve had right now, which is, you know, the normalization of crypto. Not on the headlines about prices but really about data usage. And so these cryptocurrencies are very different from Bitcoin anywhere from the consensus to the players into the likelihood of actually reaching massive adoption.”

A Psychology and Journalism graduate, Rakshitha focuses on UK and Indian markets. As a crypto-journalist, her interests lie in blockchain technology adoption across emerging economies.