U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres ruled on Thursday that Ripple Labs’ programmatic sales of the XRP cryptocurrency did not qualify as the offer and sale of investment contracts. This decision from the Southern District of New York brought relief to XRP investors worldwide, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing legal tussle between the San Francisco-based payments firm and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

See related article: What is XRP and what is Ripple?

Fast facts

  • Programmatic sales are automated transactions involving the selling or buying of digital assets, like cryptocurrencies, based on predetermined parameters. In Ripple’s case, it includes XRP sales in cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • The verdict came with a critical caveat that may keep Ripple and its top brass on their toes. According to the court’s document, Ripple’s institutional sales of XRP violated securities regulations.
  • “Having considered the economic reality and totality of circumstances surrounding the Institutional Sales, the Court concludes that Ripple’s Institutional Sales of XRP constituted the unregistered offer and sale of investment contracts in violation of Section 5 of the Securities Act,” the court filing said.
  • In December 2020, the SEC initiated a lawsuit against Ripple, alleging that Ripple’s sale of XRP was an unregistered securities offering. The SEC also implicated Ripple’s executive chairman Chris Larsen and chief executive officer Brad Garlinghouse as co-defendants, accusing them of aiding and abetting Ripple’s alleged violations.
  • The announcement of the court’s decision triggered a surge in XRP’s value. The cryptocurrency’s price jumped by 30% to US$0.61 shortly after the news became public. Prior to the announcement, XRP was trading at US$0.47, according to CoinGecko data.
  • The court added that it would release an order to establish the trial date and related pre-trial schedules at the appropriate time.

See related article: Ripple gets in-principle approval for Singapore digital payment license