UK’s leading newspaper, The Telegraph, reported on April 15 that the third largest cryptocurrency by market valuation, Ripple, has demanded UK regulators to end the “Wild West” on crypto markets. Ripple called out UK regulators on the issuance and implementation of new regulations that limit the possibilities in cryptocurrency space.
Head of Ripple’s regulatory relations, Ryan Zagone, encouraged UK regulators to spot the right mix of enabling innovation and capturing risk. Mr. Zagone highlighted three core principles for recommended regulations that included protection for consumers, financial stability and anti-money laundering steps. He drew a comparison between normative frameworks on virtual currencies to the infancy of the internet. Mr. Zagone said:
“We’re at that time now where we need more clarity and rules and we need more certainty. It’s a good time to start revisiting that ‘wait and see’ approach taken by regulators.”
Mr. Zagone also gave the Japan the title of “leader of cryptocurrency regulation” and emphasized that other nations, including the United Kingdom can follow the lead of Japan. It should be noted that, back in July 2017, Australia has already officially accepted Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal tender.
In the wake of Mr. Zagone’s comments and Japan’s openness to innovation, it will be interesting to observe if UK will mend its legal stance on cryptocurrencies or continue to make the regulations more and more strict. Last month, Chancellor Philip Hammond put together a new taskforce with the sole purpose of protecting consumers against potential risks of crypto assets.
Mark Carney, Bank of England governor, also issued a warning that cryptocurrencies will have to go through a phase of regulatory suppression since they have “hallmarks of bubble”. Mr. Zagone was of the view that regulation might be necessary to achieve maturity in cryptocurrency space saying:
“Regulation creates the guardrails on the highway that allows new entrants to come in, particularly institutional investors.”
Bitcoin, along with many other cryptocurrencies, saw a price jump of 13% last week which, so far, has sustained. It would be interesting to see how Ripple’s remarks relating to regulation would affect Bitcoin price.