Since the beginning of 2023, Ripple has made massive progress in its court battle against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has accused the blockchain company of illegally selling the XRP token, a cryptocurrency considered a security by the regulator.
Specifically, at the year’s turn, the XRP community was on the fence about the lawsuit’s future, with a poll shared by attorney John Deaton showing that 59.2% believed a settlement would happen, while 40.8% expected a verdict after the court granted a motion for crypto investment firm Paradigm to join the case.
Intense disputes mark start of 2023
Shortly after, the regulator filed a motion to block Ripple’s expert testimony, arguing that the experts were unreliable and lacked the right background. In turn, Ripple filed a redacted motion to remove the SEC expert testimony and the accompanying exhibits on the public docket.
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As the year went on, the case turned its focus again to the controversial Hinman speech documents over their unsealing, as journalist Roslyn Layton filed an amended motion to petition the court for access to the speech, with US government watchdog Empower Oversight supporting the motion.
Later on, in early March, Ripple filed a letter in line with the Supreme Court case that backed the blockchain firm’s Fair Notice Defense as it ruled to constrain the US government’s power to impose penalties on American taxpayers who fail to disclose their offshore bank accounts.
Not long after, the first major development in the case saw Judge Analisa Torres issue a 57-page ruling in which both the blockchain company and the securities regulator sought to exclude expert testimony from summary judgment, although it did not seem to be a strong win for either side.
Ripple’s win streak
However, pro-Ripple lawyers later expressed their views that this decision could be disastrous for the SEC’s summary judgment motion, particularly due to the exclusion of one specific witness, which Scott Chamberlain, a former attorney and co-founder of Evernode XRPL, referred to as “fatal to SEC.”
That said, another major victory for Ripple arrived in the form of Judge Torres denying the SEC’s motion to seal the controversial Hinman documents that refer to the speech by the former SEC division director in which he said that Bitcoin and Ethereum were not securities.
As for the documents themselves, the public saw them on June 13, after which it became clear that he had said that a crypto was not a security when it becomes “sufficiently decentralized,” despite senior SEC officials repeatedly warning him about the possibility of further confusing the crypto market.
Finally, on July 13, Ripple secured a legal triumph with Judge Torres’s summary ruling in which she ruled that the retail sales of XRP did not constitute securities sales. However, she did the court did find that past direct XRP sales to institutional clients do, in fact, constitute an investment contract.
As 2024 approaches, the only thing left for the case is the final settlement in which the presiding judge will decide how much money the blockchain company will have to pay in damages for the part of the court decision that referred to the institutional XRP sales.
As it happens, Judge Torres said in her pretrial scheduling order that the Court would seek to schedule a jury trial for the case in the second quarter of 2024, ordering both parties to submit blackout dates for trial by August 23, which would suggest late summer of 2024 as the period for the final settlement.
What followed across August and September were back-and-forth motions regarding the SEC’s early appeal to Judge Torres’s July ruling, culminating with her rejection of the said interlocutory appeal despite the regulator’s incessant attempts at adding more arguments for it.
Finally, in late October, the SEC agreed to dismiss the civil allegations against the company’s CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, and co-founder Chris Larsen, in the third and final capitulation for the securities watchdog in its three-year crusade against Ripple.
Meanwhile, XRP was at press time trading at the price of $0.63, down 1.01% on the day but growing its value by 1.6% in the last week and by 3.17% across the previous month while gaining as much as 83.29% over the year that is almost over, as per data on December 29.
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