Cryptocurrency Ripple Effect Is Spreading

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Cryptocurrencies seem to have weathered a storm of falling prices and are now heading up.

Bitcoin increased by around 20%, Ethereum by a third and Litecoin by 12%.

But Ripple was the big winner with almost a 40% rise.

The surprise contender is Ripple, which is not as widely available as the other big cryptocurrencies – for instance deVere electronic trading wallet Crypto includes Ripple, but some other big players like Coinbase don’t.

Ripple is making a play to encourage investors who want to move away from the frontier frenzy of cryptocurrency to a more calm and controlled trading environment.

Ryan Zagone, head of regulatory relations at XRP Ripple, is urging UK regulators to strike a balance between “capturing risk and enabling innovation.”

Targets for lawmakers

He highlighted three targets for lawmakers to deal with -consumer protection, anti-money laundering and financial stability.

“We’re at that time now where we need more clarity and rules and we need more certainty. It’s a good time to start revisiting that wait and see approach taken by regulators,” said Zagone, comparing the regulatory environment on cryptocurrencies to the early days of the internet.

He held up Japan as an example of how regulation can help the cryptocurrency market and investors.

Last year, the government there ordered exchanges to abide by anti-money laundering rules and introduced safeguards for investors.

“Regulation creates the guardrails on the highway that allows new entrants to come in, particularly institutional investors,” he said.

Government task force

Chancellor Phillip Hammond has put a task force on the job of looking at new regulation for the cryptocurrency sector.

The jury is still out on predictions of cryptocurrencies taking over from the regulated and controlled US dollar, pound and euro, but the investor search beam seems to be showing that adopting blockchain technology will make a huge difference to a wide range of business sectors.

That doesn’t mean investors should shun cryptocurrencies, but perhaps should look carefully at the extra benefits some provide.

Bitcoin, for instance, is a payment token, but Ethereum is a multi-capable blockchain technology for building contracts and other legal agreements.

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