Ripple CEO: Facebook’s Libra does not represent all crypto

Finance ministers from the G-7, a group of countries with the largest economies, are voicing concerns over the “serious risks” of cryptocurrencies such as Facebook’s Libra.

Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, spoke to FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo, telling her that he agrees with President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that regulatory frameworks need to be developed. However, he also said it is important that the government knows not all crypto is the same.

“We shouldn’t paint this with one broad brush, he said. “Any new technology can be abused in various ways.”

Garlinghouse said placing this particular type of technology under one umbrella term could potentially stifle innovation within the United States. He also said that his company does not entirely fit into the same crypto category. He described Ripple as a blockchain company that uses what he called “digital assets” as opposed to cryptocurrencies.

“What Ripple is doing is enabling regulated institutions, banks,” he said. “We partner with some of the largest banks in the world to help them more easily move money around on a cross border basis.”

A Wall Street Journal op-ed from last week said “Facebook’s cryptocurrency needs to be fleshed out,” but it also noted that Libra could provide low-income Americans with “cheap banking alternatives” and possibly pressure banks to lower their fees. In response to the article’s mention of the future of banking, Garlinghouse said he does not think banks will necessarily go away within his lifetime, but believes the focus will shift to how companies like Ripple will make banks more efficient and more competitive.  

Mnuchin said last week that the department has had a host of concerns over Libra’s potential to be misused by “money launderers” and “terrorist financiers.”

“Cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransom wear, illicit drugs and human trafficking,” he said. “Many players have attempted to use cryptocurrencies to fund their maligned behavior.”

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Garlinghouse said this could be solved very similarly to the ways in which many early technologies were dealt with in the U.S.

“We can solve these problems using these technologies much the same way the earliest days of the Internet, 25 years ago, the U.S. government created a framework that allowed companies to invest and build on top of these technologies,” Garlinghouse said. “I think we should look at blockchain and crypto in very much the same way.”

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