SEC and Ripple each seek ruling in long-running unregistered securities case

Quick Take

  • Ripple and the SEC have each asked for a swift judgment in the regulator’s case against the crypto firm.
  • The SEC has accused Ripple of selling unregistered securities when it issued XRP tokens.

Ripple and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have each asked for a swift judgment in the regulator's case against the crypto firm over its sale of XRP tokens.

Both the plaintiff and the defendant are seeking a so-called summary judgment, according to documents dated Sept. 13 that were filed on Saturday. The filings suggest that neither party wants the legal action to continue to a full trial. 

The SEC sued Ripple, its CEO Brad Garlinghouse and its co-founder Chris Larsen in 2020, alleging they sold unregistered securities when they issued $1.3 billion worth of XRP tokens. Ripple denies that XRP is a security. 

The original SEC complaint alleges that Ripple "raised funds, beginning in 2013, through the sale of digital assets known as XRP in an unregistered securities offering to investors in the U.S. and worldwide. Ripple also allegedly distributed billions of XRP in exchange for non-cash consideration, such as labor and market-making services."

A major point of contention has emerged over a 2018 speech by former senior SEC staffer Bill Hinman, when he explained why he didn't consider rival cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ether to be securities. Ripple has been seeking to obtain documents and communications related to the speech, while the SEC has attempted to shield them. 

Story updated to correct Bill Hinman's job description. 


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Andrew is Executive Editor for The Block Pro, based in London. He was previously Managing Editor at Bloomberg News and led special projects at Finimize. Follow him on Twitter at @AJRummer.