Ripple ponders move to Dubai as American investors stay leary of yet-unclassified XRP

Brad Garlinghouse

New reporting at Cointelegraph shows how Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse is looking at the demographics of the company’s user base, and finding that only 5% of XRP holders are based in America.


Consequently, Ripple is itself is poised to move its headquarters from San Francisco to Dubai, a move that seems based not only on global trends, but also on real trade concerns.


At issue, according to Garlinghouse, is the categorization of the XRP token, and related regulation of the cryptocurrency.


U.S. regulators have decidedly characterized Bitcoin and Ethereum as assets, or at least ‘not securities.’ But XRP doesn’t have that luxury, as it hasn’t been clearly classified yet.


Garlinghouse believes that might be a liability.


“95% of our customers are non-U.S. customers, and only about 5% are here in the U.S.,” Garlinghouse reportedly told Cointelegraph reporter Helen Partz. “And people say ‘You are a U.S. company … why is that?’ One of the dynamics is that U.S. companies are waiting for clarity, and that clarity emanates from the Securities and Exchange Commission.”


Crypto fans have criticized the SEC for many laxities in regulating aspects of the crypto world, but this one seems particularly important. The XRP chain system is worth an estimated $13 billion, which seems like a motivator in itself. The move of the company HQ to Dubai seems likely to diminish the American tech economy. According to some experts, it’s time to think about fast-tracking crypto regulatory progress to avoid being left behind on the global stage.


As the U.S. federal government putzes around with half-hearted promotion of its Fednow payment system, a ‘new round-the-clock real-time payment and settlement service … to support faster payments in the United States,’ the Chinese government is steaming ahead, openly promoting blockchain technology and on the cusp of releasing their own central bank digital currency (CBDC) which would effectively be a new, digitized yuan,” writes Graham Smith in a prescient op-ed in November of 2019.Destined for the rubbish heap of embarrassed obsolescence, the anachronism known as legacy finance simply cannot last much longer if humankind is to progress and flourish. … the future of finance is private and permissionless money.”


That’s good news for hodlers who got the memo months or even years ago: for U.S. regulators, bankers and politicians, it’s a wake-up call.