XRP ruling triggers crypto rally, SEC accepts bitcoin ETFs, Binance’s woes mount | Weekly recap

By crypto.news July 17, 2023 In Australia, Binance, Bitcoin, Exchanges, Ripple

XRP ruled not a security, triggering a market-wide rally. Binance faces regulatory pressure with layoffs and legal disputes. Spot bitcoin ETFs gain recognition from SEC. Read these and other news in our weekly recap.

In a groundbreaking ruling, Ripple emerged victorious in their SEC lawsuit as the judge declared that XRP is not a security. The market responded with a rally, led by XRP, while altcoins surged, sparking speculation of an impending altcoin season. Meanwhile, Binance found itself in the spotlight as reports of widespread layoffs emerged amid mounting regulatory troubles.

On the regulatory front, spot bitcoin ETFs took center stage as BlackRock’s, Fidelity’s, and Galaxy’s applications gained recognition from the SEC.

Ripple scores ‘partial’ victory

The major highlight of this week was the final ruling delivered by Judge Analisa Torres in the multi-year Ripple vs. SEC lawsuit. However, before the verdict emerged this week, apprehensions emerged earlier following the outcome of the LBRY vs. SEC case.

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Industry leaders speculated that the ruling by US Judge Paul Barbadoro regarding the LBRY project’s native tokens, LBC, could have implications for the ongoing legal battle between Ripple and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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The judge declined to determine whether the sale of LBC tokens in the secondary market qualifies as securities trading under US laws.

Per these conjectures, the decision by Judge Barbadoro might set a precedent for Judge Analisa Torres, who presides over the Ripple case, in which the SEC also accuses Ripple of conducting an illegal offering and labeling XRP as an unregistered security. Should Judge Torres fail to rule on XRP’s security status, the decision would still leave room for uncertainty.

However, a day after the LBRY case ruling, Judge Analisa Torres delivered a verdict stating that XRP does not fall under unregistered security.

Recall that the legal dispute between Ripple and the US SEC commenced in December 2020 when the SEC accused Ripple of an unlawful offering that raised $1.3 billion using XRP.

Judge Torres determined that while sales of XRP to institutions by Ripple qualified as unregistered securities, sales to the public by the company and Ripple executives Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larson and distributions did not meet the same criteria.

The ruling sparked a surge in the price of XRP, with key players speculating that it could establish a fresh framework for classifying digital tokens in future cases.

Clarity for XRP

Following the ruling, several centralized exchanges in the United States, including Coinbase and Kraken, relisted XRP, marking a significant moment in the crypto industry. Judge Torres’ ruling triggered optimism and renewed investor confidence in XRP and other altcoins.

As a result, various exchanges, including Coinbase, Crypto.com, Kraken, and Gemini, either relisted XRP or expressed intentions to support it less than 24 hours after the ruling.

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Ripple’s Chief Executive Officer, Brad Garlinghouse, expressed contentment regarding the court’s verdict. He emphasized that the decision significantly encompasses most of their operational activities, thus offering transparency within the market.

He also criticized the SEC for instilling confusion and aggressive tactics toward the crypto industry, negatively impacting the United States’ standing within the global crypto community. He conveyed his gratitude for the support received from industry colleagues.

Moreover, Garlinghouse emphasized that this ruling has revitalized the market presence of XRP, as numerous American exchanges have either relisted or have intentions to relist the digital asset.

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XRP triggers market rally, hits record highs

Before the ruling, reports suggested that XRP demonstrated a remarkable surge in social prominence, indicating the potential for a prospective price rebound.

According to data from the analytics platform Santiment, there was a noticeable rise in social engagement surrounding XRP on July 10, with the asset experiencing its most significant upsurge in social dominance since May.

Following the ruling on July 13, XRP rallied by over 30% in under an hour. The asset’s upsurge persisted over several hours, leading to the reclamation of the $0.9380. The last time XRP saw this value was in December 2021.

XRP’s trading volume also witnessed a massive 1,300% surge by July 15. The budding momentum spilled into the broader crypto market, leading to massive rallies from several altcoins. Bitcoin also capitalized on the movement, with addresses holding at least 1 BTC hitting an all-time high value.

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Spot bitcoin ETFs

Meanwhile, this week also witnessed some progress regarding the emergence of spot-based bitcoin (BTC) ETFs in the United States and Europe. During a CNBC interview, Jay Clayton, the former SEC Chairperson, voiced his support for approving spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to demonstrate their effectiveness.

He noted that institutional players assert the similarity between spot and futures products, emphasizing the superiority of spot offerings in terms of investor benefits.

Clayton acknowledged the advancements made by the crypto industry, particularly regarding institutional investments. He expressed his fascination with the widespread acceptance of bitcoin among notable key participants, which reflects an increasing level of trust in the crypto industry.

SEC begins acknowledging spot BTC ETFs

Shortly after this, Bitwise Asset Management, a technologically proficient asset management company based in San Francisco, received formal recognition from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for proposing a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

The firm initially filed its bitcoin ETF proposal in October 2021 but subsequently modified and re-presented it on June 28.

The SEC also acknowledged applications from several other institutions. Among the ETF applications recognized by the SEC are those submitted by notable entities such as BlackRock, Fidelity, WisdomTree Funds, Invesco US, and VanEck.

Furthermore, applications from Galaxy Digital, and ARK Investment have received official acknowledgment from the SEC. It is crucial to note that while this stage in the application is important, it does not guarantee approval.

To date, the SEC has refrained from granting approval for any spot bitcoin ETF, leading to uncertainties regarding the outcome of the recent applications. However, the institutions remain hopeful.

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Europe to welcome first spot BTC ETF

This week, London-based investment platform Jacobi Asset Management disclosed intentions to launch the first-ever European exchange-traded fund (ETF) dedicated to bitcoin, following a series of setbacks.

Initially slated for July 2022 on Euronext Amsterdam, the highly anticipated launch had to be rescheduled due to concerns surrounding the optimal market conditions.

In October 2021, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission approved the bitcoin ETF, enabling it to be traded on conventional stock markets beyond the borders of the US However, subsequent market occurrences, including the plummet of terra and the collapse of FTX, contributed to the postponement.

Fortunately, due to resurgent interest in the product, the bitcoin ETF is now back on course for a planned launch this month.

Meanwhile, in a collaborative effort with Vasco Trustees, Monochrome Asset Management, an asset manager based in Australia, submitted a reviewed application for a bitcoin ETF that aims to facilitate investment in BTC and ETH for retail investors.

The filing signified the first-ever proposal for a spot bitcoin ETF on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) since the introduction of a crypto-focused licensing framework. Notably, Vasco, Monochrome’s partner, had secured a license allowing it to manage spot ETFs in Australia a year earlier.

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Binance faces structural changes amid legal pressure

Binance made the headlines this week amid the legal pressure mounted on the exchange in the wake of its regulatory woes. Reports from July 13 revealed that Binance appointed Eleanor Hughes as its new chief legal officer.

Hughes, who has been a member of the Binance legal department since November 2021, now oversees a team of 85 attorneys.

The announcement came on the heels of the exit of former chief strategy officer Patrick Hillmann, Han Ng, who served as the former chief legal officer, and senior vice president for Compliance Steven Christie. However, specific reasons for their departures have not been openly disclosed.

The modifications in Binance’s legal team correspond with the ongoing legal disputes against U.S. regulators, encompassing lawsuits from the CFTC and the SEC asserting violations of securities laws.

Amidst the regulatory challenges, reports also emerged regarding a significant restructuring endeavor at Binance, which entails a reduction of its workforce by over a third, resulting in the potential layoff of more than 1,000 employees.

Per an anonymous spokesperson cited by the Wall Street Journal, 1,000 individuals have already been affected, with the possibility of up to 3,500 positions being eliminated by year-end. While Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao dismissed the report’s FUD, he did acknowledge the occurrence of layoffs.

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