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Money 20/20: Monica Long says ‘SEC is not a friendly entryway for us in the US’

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Money 20/20: Monica Long says ‘SEC is not a friendly entryway for us in the US’

Monica Long, President of Ripple, joined Arjun Kharpal, Senior Correspondent for CNBC, at Money 20/20 to discuss the infrastructure needed for crypto implementation. 

Their conversation centered around the theme of “Building Infrastructure Fundamentals,” which focused on traditional financial institutions’ perception and adoption of digital assets.

Long noted a significant shift in U.S. legislation and traditional finance institutions, citing the Bitcoin ETF approval in the U.S. as a crucial moment for crypto adoption. “BlackRock’s involvement was a big moment,” Long said. Many financial institutions have been slowly adopting crypto tech, acknowledging it as a contemporary financial framework, Long said.

Money 20/20: Monica Long says ‘SEC is not a friendly entryway for us in the US’ - 1

Clearer regulations

Despite the recent Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC) ETF approvals, Long emphasized the need for more regulatory clarity. When talking about the real-world uses of digital assets, Long emphasized the advantages of institutional decentralized finance (DeFi) in basic banking transactions.

“Basic financial services like deposits, payments, lending, credit, and capital markets can benefit from a more global, open, and efficient system,” Long said, comparing blockchain’s potential impact on finance to the internet’s impact on communication.

Long mentioned the European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation as a prime example of a clear regulatory framework and hinted at the United States’s slow yet steadily improving relationship with crypto.

“Entering the U.S. market through the SEC doesn’t sound like a door that’s going to have a friendly, friendly entryway for us,” Long said. 

Long expressed cautious optimism about regulatory clarity in the U.S., noting that stablecoin legislation could be a positive step.

Private vs. public blockchain 

Long also discussed the debate between private versus public blockchains and pointed out that private blockchains are still used for tech like central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), but there have been noteworthy advancements in public ledgers.

For instance, Société Générale issued the first euro stablecoin on a public ledger. Ripple is also launching a regulated US dollar stablecoin. 

Fraud 

Long emphasized the difference between fraudulent behavior and the technology itself when discussing the repercussions of scandals like FTX.

“To clarify, as an industry, there’s fraud, which is what happened in the case of FTX finance. There are blatant violations of compliance, violations,” Long said. “But it’s not that the technology is bad or that all players paint us all with a broad brush of fraudsters and criminals.”

FTX’s collapse and fraud do not reflect the whole crypto industry — positive blockchain applications do remain, Long stressed.

“There’s a hangover from those events, but it’s important to separate fraud from the legitimate applications of the technology,” she said.