XRP, ripple v sec
  • A US federal judge has allowed a securities lawsuit against Ripple Labs to proceed, focusing on alleged misleading statements by CEO Brad Garlinghouse about XRP in 2017, potentially classifying XRP as a security when sold to retail investors.
  • This decision highlights ongoing legal uncertainties in the cryptocurrency industry, contrasting with a previous favorable ruling for Ripple and reflecting increased regulatory scrutiny.

A recent ruling by a US federal judge has sent ripples through the cryptocurrency community, allowing a civil securities lawsuit against Ripple Labs to move forward. This case, focusing on alleged misleading statements made by Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse regarding XRP, brings to light the ongoing legal uncertainties surrounding crypto classification and executive actions.

The Heart of the Lawsuit: 2017 Statements Under Fire

California District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton denied Ripple’s motion for summary judgment on June 20, setting the stage for a jury trial. The crux of the case revolves around Garlinghouse’s 2017 assertion in an interview that he was “very, very long” on XRP. Plaintiffs argue that this statement was misleading, citing Garlinghouse’s sale of millions of XRP during the same year.

Judge Hamilton’s decision diverges from a previous favorable ruling for Ripple by Judge Analisa Torres in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuit. While Torres had ruled that Ripple’s programmatic sales of XRP on secondary trading platforms did not constitute securities transactions, Hamilton’s order suggests that XRP could be considered a security when sold to retail investors. This is because such investors might have expected profits primarily from Ripple’s efforts, aligning with the Howey test for determining securities.

A Landmark Case with Broad Implications

This ruling challenges the assumption that Judge Torres’ decision would establish a beneficial precedent for the cryptocurrency industry in similar cases. Judge Hamilton’s stance echoes Judge Jed Rakoff’s rejection of the Ripple ruling in the Terraform Labs case, which led to a $4.5 billion settlement with the SEC.

While the court dismissed allegations concerning Ripple’s failure to register XRP as a security, the progression of this case underscores the persistent legal ambiguities in the crypto realm. Garlinghouse has even hinted at the possibility of an XRP exchange-traded fund (ETF), signaling Ripple’s continued ambitions despite legal hurdles.

Industry-Wide Scrutiny and Regulatory Challenges

This case against Ripple is part of a broader trend of increased scrutiny on major players in the cryptocurrency space. For instance, Chicago-based trading firm Jump Crypto is currently under investigation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). This probe, which does not imply any wrongdoing, focuses on Jump’s trading and investment activities in the crypto sector.

Despite facing significant setbacks, including involvement in hacks and the collapse of major crypto projects, Jump Crypto has continued to navigate the turbulent waters of the crypto industry. The firm, known for its high-frequency trading prowess, has significantly scaled back its crypto operations while remaining a prominent investor in decentralized finance (DeFi) projects.

As Ripple prepares for a jury trial, the outcome could have far-reaching implications for the classification of cryptocurrencies and the responsibilities of their executives. This case serves as a pivotal moment in the ongoing dialogue between the crypto industry and regulatory bodies, highlighting the need for clearer guidelines and legal frameworks to govern the evolving digital asset landscape.

By vivian

Vivian Njoroge is a seasoned crypto and blockchain news writer with a passion for decoding the complexities of the digital financial world. Armed with a keen eye for emerging trends and a knack for simplifying intricate concepts, Vivian brings a unique blend of expertise and enthusiasm to her writing. Her articles, characterized by clarity and depth, aim to keep readers abreast of the ever-evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.