A Ripple executive has re-emphasized the need to adopt a technology-neutral approach for more effective and adaptable guardrails as global regulators grapple with cryptocurrency rules.
At the recent Ripple Swell 2023 event, Navin Gupta, managing director of South Asia, Middle East and North Africa at Ripple, told Cointelegraph that the industry should be regulated based on activity rather than the technology used. He said:
“We don’t want people to think about regulating the technology… We want regulators, or anybody for that matter, to be technology-neutral. It doesn’t matter if the [activity] is happening in blockchain or traditionally.”
“[If] somebody is doing payments, then it needs to be regulated as a payment instrument. If something is a security, it needs to be regulated as a security instrument,” he added.
Intention turns into action, and action turns into building, collaboration and partnerships. @Navinblockchain shares how #RippleSwell in Dubai brings people together to drive crypto innovation. pic.twitter.com/qS7AiWMJMV— Ripple (@Ripple) November 9, 2023
For Gupta, the focus should be on the purpose and use of the virtual asset rather than the underlying technology to create flexible regulations, ensuring that they remain relevant as blockchain technology evolves.
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The unique characteristics and global portability of cryptocurrencies — with their different token types — have proved challenging for regulators. In response, the Group of Twenty, or G20, unanimously accepted a crypto regulatory roadmap in October, which the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Stability Board proposed in September. It advocates for comprehensive oversight of crypto globally.
But while the Middle East and North Africa region has jurisdictions such as the United Arab Emirates that have taken an open stance toward the new asset class, some nations, including the Arab superpower Saudi Arabia, have yet to introduce clear rules, with others, such as Egypt and Morocco, completely banning Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies altogether.
According to Gupta, besides educating and working with regulators to help them better understand the industry, introducing non-speculative crypto use cases, such as crypto remittances and payments, is key to navigating the region’s varying legal landscapes.
“Whenever you talk about non-speculative use cases and how crypto can play a part, regulators are all ears because there you’re not going to say that people are speculating to double their money. [You’re] going to say, ‘How can we make it easier for citizens to get a better benefit that they’re not getting today?’”
“Education and utility-based projects where there is real utility for usage is how we can get regulators onboard,” he added.
Given the large remittances market in Africa, Ripple announced a partnership with mobile payments provider Onafriq in November that will open new payment corridors between 27 African countries and Australia, the United Kingdom and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
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