Given the current push for crypto regulation, the industry breathed a sigh of relief on July 13 as Ripple Labs scored a partial victory in its legal battle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dating back to 2020.
Judge Analisa Torres of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Ripple’s XRP (XRP) token is not a security, but only regarding programmatic sales on digital asset exchanges. However, the SEC also notched up a victory of its own, with the judge ruling that XRP is a security when sold to institutional investors, as it met the conditions set in the Howey test.
Immediately after the news, Ripple became the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Mere hours after the ruling, XRP’s market cap surged a whopping $21.2 billion to reach a new yearly high of $46.1 billion, pushing it up from seventh position to beat out Circle’s USD Coin (USDC) and Binance’s BNB (BNB) token in the process.
Industry heavyweights believe the decision will aid crypto exchanges Coinbase and Binance in their respective SEC lawsuits. Tyler Winklevoss, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, said the ruling “decimates” the SEC’s case against Coinbase. His twin brother, Cameron Winklevoss, referred to the ruling as a “watershed moment” that will make it difficult for the SEC to claim authority over cryptocurrencies. United States Senator Cynthia Lummis stated that the verdict reinforces the immediate requirement for Congress to provide a thorough crypto framework that prioritizes the safeguarding of consumers.
South Korea to ask firms to disclose crypto holdings from 2024
South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) announced a new bill requiring all firms that issue or hold cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) to disclose their holdings. The new measures aim to enhance transparency in the accounting and disclosure of crypto assets in line with supervision guidelines that require accounting for each transaction involving crypto. The initiative also targets revising accounting standards that obligate disclosure of virtual asset transactions.
First Bitcoin futures contract debuts in Argentina
Argentina welcomed its first Bitcoin futures contract on July 13, three months after the country’s securities watchdog approved the underlying index as part of a strategic innovation agenda. The Bitcoin futures contract will be based on the price of BTC quoted by several market participants providing BTC/ARS trading pairs. All trades will be settled with Argentine pesos, and traders are required to make deposits through bank transfers. According to local media reports, the product will initially be available only to institutional investors. There’s no clear timeline for when retail investors can trade Bitcoin futures contracts in the country.
Former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky arrested and charged
The former CEO of now-bankrupt crypto lender Celsius, Alex Mashinsky, was arrested after a probe into the company’s collapse. On the same day, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Mashinsky, charging him for raising “billions of dollars” through unregistered and fraudulent offers, as well as selling “crypto asset securities.” The criminal charges came parallel to those from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which announced a complaint against Celsius and Mashinsky on July 13. According to the commission, Celsius allegedly acted as an unregistered commodity pool operator, while Mashinsky was an unregistered associated person of the said operator, which are violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.