The recent legal victory of Ripple against SEC charges has invigorated crypto firms to challenge SEC’s regulatory authority.
On Thursday, Ripple Labs Inc. achieved a significant victory, marking a new chapter in the ongoing battle between cryptocurrency companies and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Furthermore, the court ruling that Ripple did not breach securities laws with its XRP token sales is the SEC’s first significant defeat in a decade of enforcing the crypto space.
This legal triumph has spurred hope among other cryptocurrency firms like Coinbase and many others facing SEC charges. They are keen to resist the agency’s attempts to regulate the industry, as these firms believe the SEC has been overstepping its bounds. According to Reuters, a few insiders, who wish to remain anonymous due to confidentiality, revealed that these companies are exploring how to leverage this ruling to their advantage.
SEC’s Strong Stand Against Crypto Space
The crypto industry and the SEC, led by Democratic chair Gary Gensler, have been in constant contention. Gensler has often referred to the crypto market as the “Wild West,” prone to fraudulent activities. This perception has led the SEC to assert that most cryptocurrency tokens are securities, leading to the crackdown on crypto trading platforms, such as Coinbase, the leading U.S. exchange. The aim is to bring the industry under the SEC’s supervision.
However, crypto companies have always contested the SEC’s authority. It was only with the Ripple ruling that a court finally supported their stance. This ruling now provides legal backing for industry lawyers to counter the SEC.
Ripple Case: A Game Changer for Crypto Companies
In 2020, the SEC charged Ripple, based in San Francisco, along with its present and former CEOs, with an unregistered $1.3 billion securities offering through XRP sales. Ripple’s founders developed XRP in 2012.
Judge Analisa Torres of the U.S. District Court in New York, last Thursday, determined that Ripple’s public cryptocurrency exchange sales were not securities offerings. This ruling was based on the fact that buyers had no reasonable profit expectations dependent on Ripple’s endeavors – a crucial factor for classifying XRP as a security. Simultaneously, the judge ruled that Ripple should have registered its direct XRP sales to investors as securities, thereby granting the SEC a partial win.
New Defense Strategy for Crypto Exchanges
The judgment is seen as a turning point by crypto enthusiasts. The judge’s rationale has given a newfound defense line for companies like Coinbase, Binance, and Bittrex. These exchanges are targeted by the SEC for allegedly trading securities. Moreover, it strengthens the position of these exchanges, arguing that digital assets traded on their platforms should not be considered as securities.
Possibility of an SEC Appeal
Despite the jubilation in the crypto community, some legal professionals anticipate that the SEC will contest the decision in the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals. The objective would be to prevent judges in other cases from ruling that other cryptocurrencies sold on exchanges are not securities.
Legal experts, like Carol Goforth, a law professor at the University of Arkansas, believe the SEC will not let this ruling stand due to the significant implications it may have on cases against Coinbase and other issuers.
Ripple’s Chief Legal Officer, Stuart Alderoty, said in an interview that the company is ready to face an appeal as they believe in the judge’s core findings. Furthermore, he added that he is confident that any appellate court would support and strengthen these rulings.
Legal analysts agreed that an appeal by the SEC could be risky. If the 2nd Circuit, whose rulings impact federal courts in New York, Connecticut, and Vermont, upholds the Ripple decision, most of the case against Coinbase might fall apart, as per Philip Moustakis, an attorney at Seward & Kissel. He added that this appeal might significantly limit the SEC’s jurisdiction over crypto markets if they lose.
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