On July 13, 2023, Judge Analisa Torres of the United States District Court delivered a significant ruling, declaring that Ripple’s XRP token should not be considered a security when traded on retail digital asset exchanges. This ruling marked a major victory for Ripple and the entire cryptocurrency community in the United States.
Stuart Alderoty, Ripple’s chief legal officer, highlighted the importance of this decision as it debunked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) theory that a token could be classified as an investment contract and, consequently, security. He believes that this ruling challenges the SEC’s dominance in the crypto space and its practice of settling with smaller players who lack the resources to challenge them.
Despite the positive outcome for Ripple, New York Representative Ritchie Torres expressed concerns about the lack of protection for retail investors in securities law. To safeguard average American consumers in the crypto market, Torres advocated for a comprehensive market structure bill. He emphasized the need to differentiate between digital assets and securities within investment contracts and distinguish between institutional and retail buyers.
According to Torres, if a crypto token is purchased directly from an issuer or promoter by an institutional buyer, it qualifies as a security offering. However, if the same token is acquired by a retail customer on an exchange, it falls outside the scope of securities law. To address these complexities, a market structure bill is required to establish a reliable regulatory framework for digital assets.
Representative Torres revealed that he has been actively negotiating with Republicans in the House Financial Services Committee to craft such a bill. His aim is to strike a balance between robust regulation and protecting retail investors from bad actors. While he personally supports blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize various sectors, Torres emphasized that the policymakers’ role is to create a framework for regulating digital assets and safeguarding investors and consumers, regardless of their personal views on cryptocurrencies’ utility.
The urgency of passing a market structure bill alongside the Ripple decision is essential to provide clarity and protect retail customers. Torres seeks to shield crypto innovators from arbitrary enforcement and ensure the safety of individual investors. Together, the Ripple ruling and a market structure bill would create a much-needed regulatory structure for the rapidly evolving crypto industry.
Clarity in regulations is considered vital to enable the growth and success of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, paving the way for a more efficient and secure payment system, known as Web3. Representative Torres’ advocacy centers around addressing the shortcomings of the current status quo to create a safer environment for retail customers investing in digital assets.