Blockchain technology and digital currencies are increasingly revered as the next phase for technological advancements, alongside the usual suspects of A.I., machine learning, and drone tech.
This week, Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen spoke on a CBInsights forum about the slow development of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the U.S.
Speaking to WSJ reporter Paul Vigna, Larsen said the country was “ignorant” about providing legal clarity on blockchain and cryptocurrencies:
Ripple co-founder @chrislarsensf spoke with @WSJ’s @PaulVigna at @CBInsights Tech Conf about the #tech Cold War brewing between the United States and China. Watch the full talk today. https://t.co/OFLAfBTjan pic.twitter.com/ReIaSlRGn1
— Ripple (@Ripple) June 24, 2020
China miners dominate industry
Larsen said blockchain technology is poised to play an integral role in the world’s “next-gen” global financial system. However, he added, much of the U.S. discussion around cryptocurrencies centers around Bitcoin and Ethereum, which Larsen defines as “dominated by miners based in China.”
Saying “China is so far ahead of us,” Larsen notes China has readied a $1.4 trillion warchest for emerging technology, with part of it earmarked exclusively for increasing payments technology and blockchain.
China is already modeling the island of Hainan as a “blockchain hub.” Local observers state President Xi Jinping aims to make the island fully-blockchain and AI-compliant; a glimpse into how the city of the future could look.
Earlier this month, as CryptoSlate reported, the China government even called for the “speed up” of development in Hainan’s “Blockchain Pilot Zone.”
Ahead of ICO days
Larsen believes the cryptocurrency industry has come far ahead of its ICO days, a time when scams and obscure tokens swindled billions of dollars from the open market. That war has been “won,” he said, adding:
“Regulators must address the industry so that they can compete with China’s blockchain and cryptocurrency progress.”
Larsen said China’s recent move to try to control Hong Kong gives them two major financial centers — the other being Shanghai — while the U.S. continues to field a majority of its financial efforts only in New York.
The Ripple executive, with an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion on Forbes, thinks Chinese control over the global financial system could prove “devastating” for global prowess that U.S. markets currently exhibit.
His words come weeks after J. Christopher Giancarlo, a former U.S. regulator-turned-lawyer, appealed for XRP to be considered a “commodity” similar to BTC and ETH. As CryptoSlate reported, Giancarlo noted XRP failed the Howey test for securities and must not be regulated as such.
Cryptocurrencies and US securities laws: beyond bitcoin and ether https://t.co/IS6S5yvQXA via @intltaxreview
— Chris Giancarlo (@giancarloMKTS) June 17, 2020
China zooming ahead
Countries around the world are pushing for development in and around blockchain and digital currencies, with some like China even including blockchain as a significant part of its ambitious Five-Year-Plan.
But the U.S., long holding the beacon for advancements in technology — especially the role the country played in the development of the internet industry — is markedly slow in adopting blockchain, in terms of both regulations and infrastructure.
The lack of action is a problem for the country’s long-term growth and attractiveness as a technological hub, with some saying China might eventually emerge on top given its proactive steps.
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