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Crypto firm Ripple will explore IPO after SEC lawsuit ends, CEO says

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DAVOS, Switzerland — Ripple will explore the possibility of an initial public offering once its lawsuit with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has ended, CEO Brad Garlinghouse told CNBC.

The company uses XRP, the world’s sixth-largest cryptocurrency, to facilitate cross-border payments. Effectively, fiat is converted to XRP which lowers the cost and increases the speed of the transaction. The XRP is then converted back to fiat.

But the SEC alleges Ripple, Garlinghouse and executive chairman Chris Larsen engaged in an illegal securities offering through sales of XRP. Ripple has argued that the digital coin should not be treated as a security, a designation that would bring it under much stricter regulatory scrutiny.

The lawsuit has been going on for nearly 15 months and Ripple expects it to end this year. After that, the company will look into a public listing.

“I think we want to get certainty and clarity in the United States with the U.S. SEC. You know, I’m hopeful that the SEC will not slow that process down any more than they already have,” Garlinghouse told CNBC during the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“But you know, we certainly are at a point in scale, where that is a possibility. And we’ll look at that once we’re past this lawsuit with the SEC.”

Garlinghouse’s comments come amid a cryptocurrency price crash that has wiped billions of dollars of value off of the market. XRP is down 42% in the last 30 days, according to CoinGecko.

Crypto-related stocks have also been hammered. Coinbase shares are down 75% this year, while Robinhood, which offers digital currency trading, has seen its stock drop nearly 50%.

Despite that, Garlinghouse said the business continues to grow. He said that in the first quarter of the year, volume for its cross-border payments product that uses XRP known as On-Demand Liquidity totaled $8 billion versus $1 billion in the same period last year.

“Our growth is almost all outside the United States. I think that’ll probably persist until we get the clarity and certainty in the U.S. we’ve been seeking,” Garlinghouse said.

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