Last week, the crypto-community began talking about an interview given last month by Deputy Director-General of Ghana’s Securities and Exchange Commission Paul Ababio, where he noted that crypto is not legal in the country and that citizens should not participate in the financial trend which is taking Africa by storm. Headlines focused on the warning, but Modulus CEO Richard Gardner offered commentary on the rest of the ‘enlightening’ interview.
“We live in a world where the news is driven by whatever makes the flashiest headline. News is driven by clickbait. Even when technically true, the real story is rarely well summarized by the headline,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges. “To say that the thrust of Ababio’s interview was a warning about cryptocurrencies doesn’t really consider the long-term implications.”
Within the interview, Ababio noted that the SEC has “given out a warning that it is not regulated by the commission, Bank of Ghana does not treat it as a form of payment, it is not a legal tender but we will be engaging further to come out with frameworks. So, people should desist from participating.” According to the interviewing platform, he continued on to note that it is still a new financial instrument and that the SEC plans to have a roundtable to discuss its future, as well as the best approach to take in regard to its position on them.
“Giving a warning about something that isn’t currently regulated isn’t newsworthy. Mr. Ababio notes in his interview that there areas of concern and that they plan to study them, and, in some instances, he noted that ‘there will be some action on that front.’ Saying that a country does not currently regulate crypto and that, for that reason, it is not acknowledged as a form of payment… that’s pretty boilerplate,” opined Gardner. “The more enlightening part of the interview is where he notes that cryptocurrencies are new and that the commission is planning to look at how they should be treated moving forward.”
Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable exchanges, with a client list which includes NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.
“This isn’t a problem that’s unique to Ghana. The issue we see is that regulations just haven’t caught up to technology. That’s not a new problem, but it is particularly problematic in the crypto sphere. Commonsense regulatory guidelines would help keep bad actors and their chicanery away from crypto exchanges, but, at this point, many bureaucrats haven’t dedicated the time and resources necessary to create a regulatory atmosphere which keeps the public safe without stifling innovation. However, part of this interview indicates that Ghana is planning to move forward in attempting to find the best way to deal with cryptocurrencies, and forward motion, even if not as fast as one might hope, should always be appreciated,” noted Gardner.