Ripple Community Set to Celebrate Partial Victory Against SEC

The Ripple community is set to celebrate the partial victory against the SEC at the end of this month.

In a dramatic turn of events that has reverberated through both financial and technological realms, Ripple Labs has emerged triumphant in its legal battle against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). As a result of this significant legal victory, the company has planned a celebratory victory party slated for September 29, 2023, in the vibrant heart of New York City. However, this event is more than a mere commemoration; it stands as a powerful testament to resilience and a pivotal moment in the landscape of cryptocurrencies.

In parallel with these celebratory events, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has characterized this period as the "Summer of Justice." This term encapsulates a sequence of legal victories that have tilted in favor of various players within the cryptocurrency domain. These wins, according to Garlinghouse, illuminate the SEC's approach and raise questions about the regulatory body's comprehension of both legal principles and factual intricacies.

In a parallel development, an internal memo from the SEC, harkening back five years, has recently surfaced, casting doubt on the agency's internal consensus regarding the classification of XRP as a security. This revelation, brought to light by cryptocurrency lawyer John Deaton, has ignited discussions within the industry and spurred questions about Ripple's culpability in issuing the token.

Ripple Community Set to Celebrate Partial Victory Against SEC

Ripple Labs emerged victorious in its legal battle against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the past few weeks. Subsequently, the company's planned celebratory victory party scheduled for 29 September 2023, in the heart of New York City is more than just a commemoration; it is a testament to perseverance and a pivotal moment in the cryptocurrency world.

The pioneering blockchain company, which has been at the forefront of developing solutions for cross-border payments and remittances, found itself in the crosshairs of the SEC in December 2020. The regulatory body alleged that the company had violated federal laws by offering and selling XRP, its native digital asset, as an unregistered security. What followed was a legal saga that spanned over two intense years, marked by legal arguments, regulatory scrutiny, and market uncertainties.

After a prolonged legal battle, Judge Analisa Torres delivered a landmark summary judgment. In her ruling, she acknowledged that Ripple had indeed sold XRP as an investment contract to institutional investors. This represented a partial victory for Ripple, as the judge also declared that the company's programmatic sales and other distributions of XRP did not fall under the securities category. In a monumental verdict, she pronounced XRP itself as a digital asset rather than a security.

The ruling marked a significant victory for Ripple, providing the much-needed clarity the company had sought for XRP's regulatory status. The lawsuit's overarching objective was to establish whether XRP was a security or not, and the judge's decision put an end to the uncertainty that had lingered over the cryptocurrency's legal standing.

Amid the triumph, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse, who had been steadfast in his commitment to defending the company's position, took to social media to express his sentiments. “As promised – it’s time for that proper victory party,” he tweeted, encapsulating the sentiment of celebration and relief that permeated the company. Garlinghouse also acknowledged the immense challenges the company had faced throughout the legal battle, underscoring the significance of the impending celebration.

However, the victory party doesn't mark the end of Ripple's legal journey. While the ruling provided clarity on the status of XRP, there is still a pending issue to address. The SEC's case against Ripple's executives, Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen, for allegedly aiding and abetting the distribution of XRP as an unregistered security remains unresolved. The trial, scheduled for Q2 2024, is expected to shed further light on the regulatory boundaries within which blockchain companies must operate.

The victory party serves as both a recognition of the challenges overcome and a rallying point for the battles that lie ahead. It is not just a celebration of legal victory; it is a testament to the importance of regulatory clarity in an evolving digital landscape. Ripple's journey reflects the broader narrative of the blockchain industry—a narrative of innovation, adaptation, and resilience in the face of complex legal and regulatory landscapes.

Brad Garlinghouse Refers to This Period as the Summer of Justice

Meanwhile, as the cryptocurrency industry continues its journey towards mainstream recognition and acceptance, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has coined this period as a "Summer of Justice." This term encapsulates a series of legal victories that have unfolded in favor of various players within the cryptocurrency space, echoing the sentiment that the tide may be turning in the realm of cryptocurrency regulation. These legal successes, Garlinghouse contends, shed light on the SEC's approach and raise questions about the regulatory body's understanding of both the facts and the law.

Garlinghouse's assertion aligns with a larger narrative that highlights the challenges and complexities of regulating a rapidly evolving sector. The cryptocurrency industry, marked by innovation and technological advancements, has consistently encountered regulatory gray areas. In many cases, the SEC has taken an active role in shaping the industry's trajectory through its decisions and actions. However, as Garlinghouse suggests, these actions have not always been met with unanimous agreement or perceived fairness.

One instance that underscored the evolving dynamics of cryptocurrency regulation was the appeals court's order for the SEC to review its rejection of Grayscale's Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) bid. The court's characterization of the SEC's denial as "arbitrary and capricious" illuminated the growing scrutiny surrounding the regulator's decisions. This ruling has been interpreted as a potential milestone in the trajectory of cryptocurrency regulation, suggesting that the regulatory landscape could be shifting.

Despite the optimism behind Garlinghouse's "Summer of Justice," it is important to acknowledge that the path towards clear, cohesive cryptocurrency regulation remains complex. The nature of the cryptocurrency landscape, characterized by its rapid pace of innovation and its boundary-pushing technologies, demands a nuanced and adaptive regulatory approach. While legal victories may signal positive shifts, the road ahead is likely to be filled with challenges, debates, and ongoing legal proceedings.

Moreover, the possibility of further legal battles cannot be ignored. The SEC retains the right to appeal rulings that it deems unsatisfactory, further muddying the waters and prolonging the process of defining clear regulations for the industry.

SEC Internal Memo Casts Doubts on XRP's Security Status

In related news, a memo from the SEC from half a decade ago has recently emerged, potentially shedding light on the agency's internal struggles in classifying XRP as a security. This revelation, brought to attention by cryptocurrency lawyer John Deaton, has ignited discussions within the industry and raised questions about Ripple's responsibility in issuing the token.

The "Howey memo," authored by SEC enforcement lawyers, is said to have been delivered to SEC Chair Jay Clayton and Commissioner William Hinman on 13 June 2018. Coincidentally, this memo came just a day before Hinman's speech, in which he suggested Ethereum (ETH) might not be classified as a security while omitting any mention of XRP.

This chronology of events has led to speculation that the SEC was internally divided about whether XRP constituted a security. According to Deaton, this uncertainty challenges the SEC's claim that Ripple, the company behind XRP, acted recklessly by issuing the token without proper consideration of its security status.

Deaton pointed out that both Jay Clayton and William Hinman later met with Ripple's CEO Brad Garlinghouse and CTO David Schwartz. During this meeting, the Ripple executives inquired about XRP's exclusion from Hinman's speech. Notably, at that time, Ethereum and XRP were competing for the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap title, and ETH pulled ahead after the speech was delivered.

The attorney referenced notes from Hinman's Special Counsel, an SEC attorney who attended the meeting, which indicated that the discussion revolved around XRP's regulatory status. Garlinghouse reportedly expressed frustration due to the lack of regulatory clarity for XRP, describing his company as being in a state of "purgatory" because of the SEC's vague stance.

Clayton's response during the meeting was reportedly less than definitive, suggesting that Ripple should "keep talking to the staff" regarding the matter. Deaton inferred from this interaction that the Howey memo might not have concluded that XRP was a security, as its findings were not mentioned by Clayton during the meeting.

Deaton acknowledged that he had not directly read the memo, as it had been deemed privileged and undisclosed. However, he emphasized that the absence of subsequent enforcement action shortly after the memo's circulation indicated that the SEC had likely not arrived at a conclusive decision at that time.

This revelation raises a pertinent question: If SEC enforcement lawyers struggled to categorize XRP as a security in 2018, does that cast doubt on the allegation that Ripple's leadership was reckless for not realizing that XRP was being sold as a security between 2013 and 2015?

Price Overview

XRP’s price had slipped 1.62% over the past 24 hours according to CoinStats. Subsequently, the remittance token was trading hands at $0.526364 at press time. Furthermore, the altcoin was also outperformed by the market leader Bitcoin (BTC), and was down 0.92% against the cryptocurrency. As a result, 1 XRP was worth 0.00001931 BTC.

Price chart for XRP (Source: CoinStats)

Most notably, XRP had erased all of the gains it had recorded following the partial victory against the SEC. This selling pressure had also continued throughout the past week and month, as XRP was down 0.78% for the week and had dropped 25% during the past 30 days.