Top Stories This Week
Judge rules XRP is not a security in SEC’s case against Ripple
Ripple Labs scored a victory in a district court in New York on July 13, with Judge Analisa Torres ruling partially in favor of the company in a case brought forth by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dating back to 2020. According to court documents, Judge Torres granted summary judgment in favor of Ripple Labs, ruling that the XRP token is not a security, but only in regard to programmatic sales on digital asset exchanges. XRP’s price skyrocketed within minutes of the news breaking. The case has been ongoing since December 2020, when the SEC sued Ripple and two of its executives over allegations of offering an unregistered security. Despite the positive outcome, several lawyers warned against celebrating too soon, noting the ruling is only partial and does not set a precedent. In addition, the SEC may appeal the decision, which could result in a reversal by a higher court.
XRP becomes 4th largest crypto after Ripple’s partial win over SEC
XRP has become the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization this week after Ripple’s partial victory over the SEC. The price of XRP surged as much as 98% in the hours following the decision, reaching as high as $0.93, according to data from TradingView. Meanwhile, its market cap surged a whopping $21.2 billion to reach a new yearly high of $46.1 billion. The new ruling has also sparked a fresh wave of re-listing activity from mainstay U.S. exchanges, with Coinbase, Kraken and iTrustCapital making the token available for trading on their respective platforms.
Celsius Network fined $4.7B by FTC, and CEO arrested under criminal fraud charges
U.S. authorities have announced charges against the former CEO of bankrupt crypto lender Celsius, Alex Mashinsky, over securities fraud, commodities fraud and wire fraud. Former chief revenue officer Roni Cohen-Pavon and Mashinsky will also face charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, market manipulation and wire fraud related to manipulating the price of the Celsius token. Authorities arrested Mashinsky as part of the indictment, which includes seven criminal counts. In parallel, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced a complaint against Celsius along with a $4.7 billion fine, claiming its co-founders marketed the platform as a “safe place” for consumers to deposit their cryptocurrency while misappropriating over $4 billion in consumers’ assets. Under similar allegations, the SEC also filed a lawsuit against the company. While Celsius is cooperating with regulators, Mashinsky pleaded not guilty to charges of misleading customers and inflating the CEL token.
Europe’s first spot Bitcoin ETF eyes 2023 debut after year-long delay
Europe’s first spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) is set to debut later this year after a long delay. The Bitcoin ETF, created by London-based Jacobi Asset Management, was set to debut in July 2022 but was postponed due to market conditions. The asset manager now sees a gradual shift in demand compared with 2022. A related development also took place in Argentina this week, as the nation welcomed its first Bitcoin futures contract. According to Matba Rofex, the trading platform behind the investment vehicle, it is the first Bitcoin futures contract in Latin America.
Binance headcount reduction hits 1,000 employees
Binance has reportedly laid off hundreds of employees in recent weeks. According to former employees, cuts were global and customer service workers were heavily affected, particularly in India. Including this week’s layoffs, over 1,000 employees have lost their jobs at the exchange. Before the slash, Binance’s global headcount was estimated at 8,000. The reorganization could cost Binance more than a third of its staff. The crypto exchange announced the 20% reduction in staff on May 31, claiming it was not downsizing but reallocating resources amid the ongoing crackdown in the United States. Binance’s most enduring challenge is reportedly an ongoing investigation of its activities and executives by the U.S. Justice Department.
Winners and Losers
Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are XRP (XRP) at 54.20%, Stellar (XLM) at 37.88% and Synthetix (SNX) at 31.92%.
The top three altcoin losers of the week are eCash (XEC) at -21.82%, Bitcoin SV (BSV) at -16.75% and Maker (MKR) at -7.87%.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“This [Ripple ruling] is a big deal. […] It’s been clear since this case was filed that it would have implications across the entire industry.”
Sheila Warren, CEO of the Crypto Council for Innovation
“What I do think is BlackRock, Invesco [and] the group of ETF providers is a real signal that adoption is coming.”
Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital
“I think the next crypto cycle will be driven by consumer apps that are powered by crypto, but users won’t know it’s crypto unless they look closely.”
0xDesigner, pseudonymous Web3 UI/UX designer
“XRP is not a security. This victory for Ripple is a win for the entire industry and a step toward regulatory clarity in the U.S.”
Ripple Labs, developers of the Ripple payment protocol
“[It] is our expectation that the price of Bitcoin will repeat its historical pattern of rallying both ahead of and following each Bitcoin halving.”
Berenberg Capital Markets, New York-based investment firm
“I think if we want Bitcoin to be more than payments, it needs more scaling solutions.”
Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum
Prediction of the Week
Can XRP price hit $1? Watch these levels next
The price of XRP has skyrocketed after a federal court ruling declared that its sales on crypto exchanges complied with United States securities laws. At its highest during the week, the XRP/USD pair reached $0.93, its best level since December 2021.
Certain indicators show that XRP’s ongoing price pump may not be just a short-term reaction to the positive news for Ripple. For instance, the duration of XRP’s massive pump coincides with its trading volumes reaching a 10-month high.
The number of XRP whale transactions — wallets holding more than $100,000 — climbed to their best level in 2023, suggesting that the wealthiest investors back the XRP rally. “If key whale and shark addresses are increasing their supply going into this pump, then it is a get foreshadowing signal that the pump may just be getting started,” stated pseudonymous analyst Brian Q from data analytics platform Santiment.
From a technical standpoint, XRP can test the key $1 level in the coming days, but its potential to continue the rally beyond looks weak for the time being. If the XRP price decisively breaks above $1, then its next price target by September will likely be near $1.35.
FUD of the Week
Blockchain Association calls for investigation into Prometheum over alleged ‘sweetheart’ SEC deal
The Blockchain Association has submitted a letter to the U.S. SEC calling for an investigation into crypto firm Prometheum. In the letter, the Blockchain Association requested the regulator to take a look at Prometheum’s special purpose broker-dealer license approval by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The group also raised concerns about the means by which co-CEO Aaron Kaplan secured a seat testifying before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee in June. Prometheum has reportedly changed its public position from calling for regulatory clarity from the SEC to claiming that “there exists a clear pathway to registration for digital assets and legislation is unnecessary” in the country.
New York prosecutor charges hacker over $9M exploit of Solana-based exchange
A former security engineer for an international technology firm has been arrested and charged for allegedly using a smart contract bug to steal $9 million in cryptocurrency from a Solana-based decentralized crypto exchange. The attack was carried out in July 2022 and involved exploiting a vulnerability in the exchange’s smart contracts to generate inflated fees with flash loans. The exploiter later returned most of the funds but was allowed to keep $1.6 million as a white hat bounty. The indictment indicates that the U.S. Department of Justice will “pursue criminal charges if a person intentionally uses a protocol in a way that it was not *intended* to be used,” crypto lawyer Orlando Cosme said on Twitter.
Algorand decentralized lending protocol Algofi to shut down by end of year
Algofi, the borrowing and lending protocol built on decentralized finance blockchain Algorand, will soon shut down. According to a July 11 announcement, developers’ “belief in the strength of Algorand’s technology and novel consensus algorithm has not wavered.” Liquidity Mining programs will be halted and several collaterals will be reduced to 0% until December. The Algofi protocol has around $25 million in total value locked, down from its $135 million peak in February.
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