Ripple still wants to go public, but a potential landmark lawsuit is causing delay.
Speaking at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2021 event Wednesday, Ripple Labs CEO Brad Garlinghouse said plans first teased in early 2020 will have to wait until an enforcement action from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is resolved.
“The likelihood that Ripple is a public company is very high at some point,” Garlinghouse told CoinDesk’s Nikhilesh De, managing editor for global policy and regulation. “In the middle of an SEC lawsuit, you know, we need to get that closed out.”
The SEC alleged in December 2020 that Ripple Labs had conducted an ongoing and unregistered securities sale via the XRP token closely associated with its brand. The case is still in the process of discovery, with Ripple asking a U.S. judge to force the SEC to disclose why it came to the conclusion that bitcoin and ether were commodities, not securities like XRP.
“The good news was the court did grant Ripple’s motion,” Garlinghouse said. “All we’ve asked for, for two to three years, is that regulatory clarity, and so I think this is progress.”
XRP v. SEC
Garlinghouse said the specter of the SEC suit has not stopped Ripple Labs from working with partners overseas to fulfill its mission of enabling speedy, cross-border payments.
“In fact, the United States is the only country around the world that has XRP as a security, every other country in which we work, they view it as a currency,” Garlinghouse said.
He said Ripple has signed over 20 contracts this year, with Southeast Asia seeing strong growth.
However, Garlinghouse conceded the company suffered a major blow when it “paused” its relationship with U.S.-based money transfer giant MoneyGram this year.
“MoneyGram and Ripple had a consequential relationship which represented a couple billion dollars of ODL [On-Demand Liquidity] transactions,” he said. “We’ve paused that partnership in hopes of getting [regulatory] clarity.”
In characteristically smooth fashion, Garlinghouse also argued the SEC suit is likely to have broader repercussions, whichever way the court rules.
“This is about more than just Ripple. This is about more than just XRP. It really does have implications for all of crypto here in the United States,” he said.
UPDATE (May 26, 17:35 UTC): Updated with additional comments from Garlinghouse.