What’s at Stake for the U.S. When It Comes to Digital Asset Regulation

This article was first published on Insights – Ripple

Our last post discussed the importance of smart digital asset regulation and why the U.S. is falling dangerously behind. We are encouraged that some U.S. agencies are acknowledging and welcoming the benefits of this new technology to consumers including the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and banks like the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. But as a whole, industry participants who are searching for a path to regulatory clarity in the U.S. have been left to parse through an opaque patch quilt of speeches, enforcement actions and dizzying guidance. 

When projects and businesses, guided by some of the best legal advice available, still find themselves unclear about the position of  U.S. regulators, something is wrong. Regulation, applied consistently, should lead to predictable outcomes, not regulatory “gotchas” that kill innovation.

The key regulatory question in the U.S. today is this: Which digital assets are “securities”? The answer to that question matters significantly. Complex and burdensome securities regulations, when incorrectly applied, smother industry innovation. Imagine imposing laws meant for the transfer of Apple stock to your purchase and sale of an iPhone or, worse, to every text sent or received on your iPhone.  

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has exempted only two digital assets from the U.S....

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Insights – Ripple

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