SEC Voluntarily Drops Charges Against Ripple Labs Executives

In a recent gesture, the United States securities watchdog dropped charges it lodged against the Ripple Labs executive duo. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed on Thursday, October 19, that it was voluntarily terminating charges it levied against Ripple Labs,  chief executive, Brad Garlinghouse. Also exonerated from the joint charges was the executive chair, Chris Larsen. 

SEC Faulted for Weak Lawsuit Against Ripple Labs and Executives

The US regulator indicated that the voluntary dropping of charges against the Ripple Labs executive does not extinguish other lawsuits related to securities violations. The duo faced charges alleging violation of securities laws involving XRP token sales. 

Ripple Labs processed the SEC’s decision by labeling it a stunning capitulation in a Thursday, October 19 press release. The Ripple Labs chief legal, Stuart Alderoty, termed the decision to dismiss the charge as a surrender by the securities regulator. 

The community consumed the news of SEC dismissing the charges positively, leaving Ripple’s native token, XRP, rallying by over 5%. The bullish movement began shortly after the announcement of SEC terminating the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit began in late 2020 when the SEC charged Larsen and Garlinghouse alongside Ripple, accusing them of contravening the securities laws. The charges alleged they offered and distributed XRP tokens, thus violating the federal securities laws.

The dismissal of charges by SEC is unsurprising considering the July 2023 ruling by Judge Analisa Torres in a split decision. The federal district judge observed that programmatic sales of XRP tokens via exchanges were nonsecurity offerings. However, the judge ruled that XRP wholesale XRP sales amounted to security offerings. 

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In early October, The Gary Gensler-led commission failed to convince Judge Torress on grounds to overturn the ruling before entering the final judgment scheduled for next spring. 

Ripple chair Chris Larsen termed the experience a travesty in compelling them to lodge a defense from the ill-advised attack by the regulator. The executive chair termed the lawsuit flawed at the onset. He decried the government’s actions despite justice prevailing for the Ripple Labs duo. They raise concerns regarding the origin and motivation of the charges. 

The Thursday decision by the Commission casts uncertainty on whether the regulator would drop charges levied against them as individuals. The SEC move appears informed by its recent court losses against the Garlinghouse-led company. 

Ripple’s top counsel, Alderoty, had on Thursday, October 19, conveyed a critical statement on X (formerly Twitter). The legal executive lamented that the SEC committed the error to pursue Brad and Chris. The outcome was inevitable capitulation as the SEC voluntarily dismissed charges against the executives.

Weighty Consequence of SEC Lawsuit Against Ripple 

The latest development hardly extinguishes the existing case lodged against Ripple. The case has dragged on for several years and is labeled as a legal showdown that would determine the US crypto regulation.

The awareness of the weighty consequences of SEC versus Ripple has drawn multiple support from crypto exchanges. Key among the supporters of Ripple Labs is the leading US crypto exchange, Coinbase.  

Notably, the July 2023 victory by Ripple set a precedent that would ultimately influence the ruling in SEC lawsuits against crypto exchanges Binance and Coinbase, alleging they offered non-registered securities. Judge Torres termed XRP tokens offered via exchanges as not securities. 

Ripple Victories Against SEC Dictating Movement in Crypto Industry 

Ripple victories against the SEC at court have fuelled strings of industry rallies as the community considers such significant encouragement. In particular, the July victory triggered a $73.5 billion increment in value hours from the July ruling. 

Nonetheless, Ripple Labs and the crypto industry are yet to overcome the SEC’s action. Judge Torres indicated in the split ruling that selling XRP tokens to the institutions amounts to illegal unregistered securities offerings. 

SEC’s decision in the case against Ripple Labs coincides with a period when the regulator is embroiled in lawsuits against critical crypto pillars, including Binance and Coinbase. 

The cases are prompting an exodus of crypto innovations, employment opportunities, and talents from the US. Larsen observed that the regulatory uncertainty from the SEC’s misguided enforcement drives crypto innovation offshore. 

Ripple’s executive chair admitted that nearly 90% of the firm’s business is offshore. The chair added that closer to 90% of recruitment involved non-Americans in the 2023 third quarter. An unfavorable outcome in the lawsuits for the defendants could spell doom for the US digital assets industry.  

Editorial credit: Grey82 /

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