Ripple appoints former U.S. treasurer to board amid SEC fight

Rosie Rios, now former Treasurer of the U.S. Treasury, speaks during the Milken Institute’s annual global conference in Beverly Hills, California, the United States, on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Blockchain startup Ripple announced on Tuesday that it had appointed former US treasurer Rosie Rios to its board as the company fights a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ripple said Rios, the 43rd US treasurer who served under President Barack Obama, would join his board of directors, while Kristina Campbell, previously an executive at fintech companies Green Dot and PayNearMe, was hired as chief financial officer.

“I have dedicated my career to financial inclusion and empowerment, which requires introducing new and innovative solutions to established processes,” Rios said in a statement.

“Ripple is one of the best examples of using cryptocurrency in a substantive and legitimate role to facilitate payments worldwide.”

San Francisco-based Ripple uses blockchain technology to send cross-border money for banks and other financial institutions, promoting its platform as a more efficient alternative to the SWIFT interbank messaging network. But it also uses XRP, a digital asset that can act as a “bridge currency” for converting one currency to another in a matter of seconds.

Ripple has benefited from the growing interest in digital currencies like Bitcoin. It owns most of the XRP tokens in circulation and sells a tiny portion of its holdings each month. XRP is up more than 500% since the start of the year.

At the same time, the company is facing significant legal headwinds in the United States. The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Ripple, co-founder Christian Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse of making an illegal securities offering that allegedly raised more than $ 1.3 billion from the sale of XRP.

Ripple denies the SEC’s allegations, claiming that XRP is more of a currency than an investment contract.

“Rosie’s experience in the public and private sectors offers Ripple an invaluable perspective, especially during this time the industry is working to define the future of crypto,” Garlinghouse said in a statement.

“We are very fortunate to have her on the team as we continue our rapid international growth and advocate for regulatory clarity in the US.”

According to Ripple, customer demand for the cross-border payment network remains high. Most recently, the company had a private value of $ 10 billion and is backed by companies like Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings, Spanish bank Santander, and leading venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed and Peter Thiels Gründerfonds.

Ripple was ranked 28th on the CNBC Disruptor 50 list of 2020.

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