The digital currency ecosystem played host to many top-profile crypto cases year, courtesy of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Treasury Department.

While crypto offenders were promptly apprehended and charged to court with payment of fines and jail terms issued throughout the year, the major highlights were the legal brawl between top crypto firms and US law enforcement agencies. 

Here are some of the biggest highlights we followed this year;

Ripple Labs Versus SEC

This was arguably the biggest case of this year and it is an extension of the lawsuit filed by the SEC back in December 2020. Refusing to settle about 3 years ago, Ripple Labs explored all the options to defend itself against the SEC’s allegations that it sold XRP as unregistered securities to both retail and institutional investors.

With more than $200 million expended in legal fees, the historic ruling on the case from Judge Analisa Torres came on July 13 and she handed a split win to both parties. While Ripple Labs was cleared of violating securities laws as it concerns the sale of XRP to retail investors, the firm was judged guilty of selling the asset to institutional investors.

The SEC tried to appeal the case but the interlocutory appeal was rejected and the Gary Gensler-led agency had to settle for the win it got and is looking at settlement hearings next year.

Binance and its Multiple Legal Woes

This year was a very tough one for Binance Exchange in many aspects as it faced many crypto cases from the SEC, DOJ, CFTC, and even the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

First, the SEC alleged the firm supported the trading of unregistered securities, naming cryptocurrencies like Cardano (ADA), Solana (SOL), and Polygon (MATIC) amongst others. Besides this, the trading platform was also accused of operating as an unregistered broker-dealer. Like Ripple Labs, the firm chose to contest these allegations in court with the case still pending to date. 

Besides this, the long-standing investigation into the company by the DOJ came to an end recently when the trading platform agreed to a historic joint settlement valued at $4.3 billion with the DOJ, CFTC, and FinCEN. As part of the settlement, Binance co-founder Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao had to step down, bringing an end to his legacy and era.

Coinbase and the Crypto Cases

Coinbase as the only publicly listed crypto trading platform in the US had a lot of legal challenges this year. While it faced a Binance-like lawsuit from the SEC for trading unregistered securities, the trading platform itself dragged the SEC to court for playing mute to its request to provide regulatory guidance for the emerging crypto world.

After the court compelled the SEC to comply, the regulatory body responded by denying Coinbase’s request for guidance, claiming the crypto industry is already covered under the existing securities laws. From the response from Coinbase Executives, the firm is not willing to accept this response, and further legal battles lie ahead.

Grayscale Investments Versus SEC

This case was one of the major defeats for the SEC this year as the court sided with Grayscale Investments whose request to convert its flagship Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) to a full-fledged Bitcoin spot Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) was denied by the SEC.

The court deemed the SEC’s denial as “capricious and arbitrary” and ordered the commission to go back to the drawing board to review its stance on the application. Shockingly, the SEC did not appeal this decision and set the stage for the massive hope that a spot Bitcoin ETF might finally be on its way.

LBRY Versus SEC Crypto Case

This is also one of the high-profile crypto cases of this year, but one that ended up as a big win for the SEC., a blockchain file-sharing and payment network was accused by the SEC in March 2021 of selling its token, LBRY Credit token (LBC) as a security under the 1933 Securities Act.

Though the court sided with the SEC, the startup has chosen to appeal the case, taking the courage from the positive XRP ruling. While the SEC has a history of losing in higher courts, it remains to be seen whether or not LBRY will be favored this time around.

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Benjamin Godfrey is a blockchain enthusiast and journalists who relish writing about the real life applications of blockchain technology and innovations to drive general acceptance and worldwide integration of the emerging technology. His desires to educate people about cryptocurrencies inspires his contributions to renowned blockchain based media and sites. Benjamin Godfrey is a lover of sports and agriculture. Follow him on Twitter, Linkedin

The presented content may include the personal opinion of the author and is subject to market condition. Do your market research before investing in cryptocurrencies. The author or the publication does not hold any responsibility for your personal financial loss.

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