Ripple Effects: How an “Alternate Coin” Breathes New Life into Crypto [Advance Cash ]

Ripple Effects: How An “Alternate Coin” Breathes New Life Into Crypto

A little-known token outside of crypto circles has delivered a huge win for the industry, potentially stopping the government crackdown on digital assets in its tracks.

Late Thursday and early Friday, crypto executives celebrated a partial victory for Ripple Labs over the Securities and Exchange Commission in federal district court. The SEC had sued Ripple alleging, among other things, that a token supported by the company called XRP is a security. While the judge sided with the SEC on some transactions, she determined that the token, by itself, did not meet that definition.

While Ripple has yet to fight parts of the case at trial, the implications for the industry — and for the SEC's crackdown — are greater. Digital asset exchanges, including Coinbase Global (ticker: COIN) and Binance, will use the ruling to try to thwart recent lawsuits the SEC has filed against them. Issuers of tokens similar to XRP – widely known as “alt coins” – will cite the case in their own defenses, and trading platforms that had avoided listing these tokens for fear of being sued will now reconsider, which will likely increase alt coin prices.



the token itself jumped almost 70% in the past 24 hours, followed by many other non-Bitcoin cryptos:


prices rose 6%,


was up 7%, and beat names such as




increased by 26% and 21%, respectively.

"There's no way to view this decision as anything other than a win for the industry and a blow to the SEC's crypto enforcement program," the Arnold & Porter attorney said. , Christian Schultz, who works for crypto clients and is a former lawyer. in the Enforcement Division of the SEC.

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Ripple Labs was founded over a decade ago with the promise of using open-source payment software and XRP to enable low-cost transactions. The company and its executives have raised funds in part by selling billions of XRP tokens to investors.

In 2020, the SEC sued the company and two executives in federal court in the Southern District of New York, accusing them of conducting a $1.3 billion unregistered securities offering. Some exchanges, including Coinbase, almost immediately suspended trading in the token on their platforms.

The main uncertainty, for Coinbase, Ripple and other companies, was that if judges determined that XRP fell under securities laws, the companies would have to register with the agency or face heavy fines.

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Coinbase and others have said for years that they don't believe there is a clear path under current rules to register with the SEC. If the tokens similar to XRP were securities, they might have had to suppress a growing part of their activity.

Judge Analisa Torres did much to allay these concerns in the Ripple case. She said that XRP, by itself, is not a security and the status of a token depends on how it is sold.

Early sales to institutional investors – who knew they were buying from Ripple – were considered securities, the judge said, while on-exchange sales to other investors – who could not have known Ripple had received the money – weren't.

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The SEC declined to comment on Friday. On Thursday, a spokesperson for the agency said the SEC was satisfied with some aspects of the judge's ruling and would continue to review it.

Ripple Frames claimed victory on Twitter.

The ruling came as a relief to Coinbase investors, whose clients appear to be in similar circumstances to Ripple investors that the judge said fall outside the scope of securities law.

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Coinbase stock fell 1.6% to $105.31 on Friday after rising more than 20% on Thursday after the decision.

“We believe a large overhang on the stock is regulatory uncertainty. With this summary judgment, we believe some of this is risk-free,” Needham & Co. analyst John Todaro wrote in an article. research note on Friday, which has a “Buy” rating on Coinbase and raised its price target to $120 from $70.

Some crypto proponents also believe the judge's ruling could jump-start congressional efforts to pass legislation to regulate digital assets.

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House Republican lawmakers plan to move forward this month on bills that would create rules for exchanges and tokens. They had run into skepticism from some Democrats and SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, who argued the industry could be policed ​​under current rules.

“That argument no longer works,” said Kristin Smith, CEO of the Blockchain Association, an industry trade group. "Democrats are going to realize that if they want consumer protection in this space, they're going to have to act."

The judge's decision in the Ripple case is not the final word. The SEC could seek to appeal, a process that could take years. Moreover, Gensler, who has aggressively sued crypto firms, is unlikely to give up simply because of a judge's ruling, said BTIG director of policy research Isaac Boltansky.

"It's a clear victory for the crypto industry, but this decision shouldn't be seen as a panacea," Boltansky said, adding that it's a tall order for Congress to pass related legislation. to crypto anytime soon.

But until then – or until another judge overturns the ruling – the crypto market is getting a long-awaited boost.

Email Joe Light at [email protected] and Jack Denton at [email protected]