“You can’t apply [an] old regulatory regime to a new technology. You end up killing the goose that laid the golden egg.” So said former US President, Bill Clinton, at Ripple’s Swell 2018 conference, which is taking place this week in San Francisco.
During a Q&A session with Gene Sperling, a former White House advisor who sits on Ripple’s board of directors, Clinton also remarked that “this whole blockchain deal has the potential it does only because it is applicable across national borders, income groups.”
“The permutations and possibilities are staggeringly great. But we could ruin it all by negative identity politics and economic and social policy,” he added.
Moving in influential circles
Ripple is making a concerted effort to hobnob with the political elite. In addition to nabbing Clinton for its conference, it is part of a group of FinTechs who have teamed up to form the Securing America’s Internet of Value Coalition, which will lobby US lawmakers and regulators on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
“We understand this is really complicated, and there is a lot of misinformation out there. The good news is there is a lot of interest in this topic in D.C,” says Chris Larsen, Executive Chairman of Ripple. “It gives them some upside and gives them some risk. Hopefully, it gives them a taste of the industry in a way that hits home.”
At the top of Ripple’s agenda is whether XRP digital tokens are deemed securities and subject to SEC regulation. The agency has already said that Bitcoin and Ether are not.
Also in the game
The coalition also includes the independent foundation RippleWorks, Coil, Hard Yaka and PolySign. It plans to pay Klein/Johnson about $25,000 a month and 10,000 XRP. Izzy Klein, Co-founder of Klein/Johnson, said his firm would convert the XRP payment into dollars when it discloses the payments on federal lobbying forms.
The formation of the alliance comes as the Congress and SEC grapple with the kind of legal framework that should be applied to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.