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Ripple Labs Taps Former White House Official as Head of Policy Amid Clash with US Government

Published September 27, 2023 11:12 AM
James Morales
Published September 27, 2023 11:12 AM
  • Ripple Labs has hired Lauren Hive as its new Head of US Public Policy and Government.
  • Before this, Hive held policy roles at the White House and in Congress
  • While US crypto firms remain locked in battle with regulators, the art of political advocacy is gaining momentum.

Businesses often hire former government officials for their policy expertise and ability to navigate official bureaucracies. In light of their often strained relationship with government agencies, crypto firms are among those with the most to gain from the tactic.

In its latest hire, Ripple Labs has employed Lauren Hive, an experienced policy expert with nearly a decade of experience in the civil service.

A New Hire With a Wealth of Experience in Washington

Before turning to the private sector, Hive worked as a Policy Director for the US House Committee on Rules. 

Previously, she spent time with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs. 

Prior to taking up a full-time role in the White House, Hive helped support Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and his transition to the presidency.

In a statement  announcing her new position as Ripple’s Head of US Public Policy and Government, Hive said her role “will be to lead our engagement in Washington and nationally, ensuring that we are not only part of the conversation but driving it forward with clarity and purpose.”

“With regulatory landscapes evolving, it’s paramount that we advocate for policies that not only support the crypto industry but also the countless individuals and businesses that could benefit from these advancements,” she added.

Legal Challenges and Advocacy: A Two-Promnged Approach to Crypto Regulation

For American crypto businesses facing a number of regulatory challenges, two key strategies have emerged for creating a more hospitable business environment.

The first, which is currently playing out in US courtrooms, entails challenging the grounds upon which regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are attempting to crack down on the crypto sector.

For Ripple, this means taking on the SEC in its lawsuit alleging the firm sold unregistered securities in the form of XRP.

In a significant decision in July, Judge Analisa Torres found that selling XRP directly to institutional investors broke securities laws. However, she stated that trading XRP on crypto exchanges afterward doesn’t come under SEC supervision.

Although the case represented only a partial victory for Ripple, for the wider crypto sector, it at least set a precedent laying out precisely when a token counts as a security and when it doesn’t.

In the future, though, questioning regulators’ use of current laws is just part of the picture. Without new legal rules, American crypto companies might continue to face an ongoing battle with the SEC and other regulatory agencies.

Thus, while legal challenges are important, there is also a growing emphasis on advocating for pro-crypto policies.

For example, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong recently pledged $1M to a SuperPAC that will support pro-crypto candidates in next year’s elections.

Meanwhile, by hiring a seasoned policy veteran to head up its engagements with Washington, Ripple is positioning itself to lobby for change from inside the halls of government.

Ripple Covers All Bases Ahead of 2024 Elections

In 2024, US voters will elect their preferred President and a new roster of congressional representatives. 

Regardless of political changes, Ripple’s new hire is well-prepared for various scenarios.

During her time in Washington, Hive would have worked closely with policymakers from both main parties.

From 2012 to 2015, while she worked for the House Committee on Rules, the House of Representatives was under Republican control, with Republican lawmakers leading the committee.

Hive previously worked in the White House during Barack Obama’s presidency, gaining experience in a Democrat-led policy environment.

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