Larsen Ripple leave US
People,  Ripple

Chris Larsen: Ripple thinking about leaving U.S.

Speaking at a conference, the international payments firm’s co-founder said unfriendly regulations are driving Ripple to consider moving its headquarters

Ripple co-founder and executive chairman Chris Larsen said on Oct. 6 the international payments firm is considering moving out of the U.S. due to unfriendly regulations. 

Speaking at the LA Blockchain Summit today, Larsen said the message sent by the U.S. regulatory regime in its current state is that blockchain and digital currencies “are not welcome in the U.S.”

He added, “if you want to be in this business, you probably should be going somewhere else.”

San Francisco-based Ripple is considering that, Larsen said:

“I’ll be honest with you. We’re even looking at relocating our headquarters to a much more friendly jurisdiction… and that’s a shame.”

He cited the U.K., Switzerland, Singapore, and Japan as possible new homes for a relocated Ripple.

U.S. Losing leadership

“We’ve got to change up here or we’re going to lose our leadership, stewardship of the global financial system,” Larsen said. “That would be a tragedy for the U.S.”

Larsen segued to a topic he has long expressed concern about—the power China has over Bitcoin due to the reality that a majority of the miners are located in China. As much as 65% is a common estimate of that majority.

“One thing just to think about if China controls the next gen financial system, that’s an illiberal democracy-financial system,” Larsen said. “You can expect things like social credit scores will determine who’s going to be able to make a payment. It’s as far away as the vision of digital assets, the blockchain, as you could possibly get.” 

A year ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country must “take the leading position in the emerging field of blockchain.” That comment set off a stampede to create blockchain firms in the country.

“So worst case scenario,” Larsen said, “it would be really terrible for Americans.”

Disclosure: Modern Consensus co-founder Ken Kurson sits on Ripple’s board.

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.