Ripple has recently secured a significant legal win in its ongoing battle against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). On October 19, the SEC announced its intention to dismiss all claims against Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and executive chair Chris Larsen. This development marked a major milestone in the civil case that was filed by the SEC against Ripple in late 2020. The decision was met with celebration within the Ripple community, as it signaled a step toward regulatory clarity for the company and the wider cryptocurrency industry.
Unfortunately, the positive news for Ripple was dampened by the announcement of LBRY, a major blockchain file-sharing and payment network, shutting down its operations. LBRY cited debts owed to the SEC, its legal team, and a private debtor, amounting to several million dollars, as the reason behind the closure. LBRY’s creators, known for building Odysee, an open-source video-sharing website, aimed to provide a decentralized alternative to popular video platforms like YouTube. However, the SEC brought a lawsuit against LBRY in March 2021, accusing the company of similar securities law violations as those brought against Ripple.
The SEC initially imposed a $22 million penalty on LBRY, but later reduced it to around $111,000. Despite the reduced penalty, LBRY decided against continuing its appeal and chose to terminate its operations. The closure of LBRY sparked a reaction within the crypto community, with many expressing disappointment over the demise of a once successful Web3 startup with actual user adoption.
Several social media users pointed out the contrast between Ripple and LBRY in terms of their capital and market value. Ripple’s native cryptocurrency XRP is currently the fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, valued at $27 billion. In comparison, LBRY’s native token, LBRY credits, has a market cap of approximately $5.5 million. Commentators highlighted that Ripple had the financial resources to fight the SEC, whereas LBRY, with its limited capital, succumbed to regulatory pressure.
This discrepancy in financial capabilities has led to criticism of the SEC’s approach, with some arguing that the agency unfairly targets smaller companies like LBRY while failing to prevent major industry failures. The LBRY case has been seen as evidence of the SEC’s overreach and its failure to effectively regulate and prevent fraudulent activities within the crypto space.
The repercussions of the LBRY case extend beyond the immediate closure of the company. Industry observers believe that Ripple’s legal battle with the SEC is far from over, despite its recent victory. Lawyers focused on the XRP case anticipate further litigation between Ripple and the SEC in the penalty phase, specifically regarding the appropriate penalty for Ripple’s institutional sales of XRP, which amounted to over $700 million. It is likely that the SEC will seek a substantial amount in penalties, aiming to assert its authority and send a message to the industry.
This ongoing legal battle highlights the complexities of the regulatory landscape in the cryptocurrency industry. Companies operating in this space must navigate an evolving regulatory environment, which often lacks clarity and consistency. The outcome of Ripple’s case with the SEC will not only impact the company but also set a precedent for how other cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based projects are regulated in the future.
The recent legal victory for Ripple against the SEC is undoubtedly significant, providing hope for greater regulatory certainty in the cryptocurrency industry. However, the LBRY case serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by companies operating in this space. The contrasting outcomes between Ripple and LBRY highlight the influence of financial resources and the potential for regulatory overreach. As the Ripple-SEC legal battle continues, it will be crucial to closely monitor the developments and its implications for the broader crypto landscape.