The XRP token connected to blockchain payment firm ripple is in the centre of a debate in the US over whether securities laws apply to cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin and ethereum, the largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation, are generally not considered securities, however the XRP token, described by Ripple as an “independent digital asset” has been embroiled in the paranoia because ripple – a technology company – still owns over 60 billion of the 100 billion XRP tokens ever created.
In short securities are ownership shares that need to be registered. An ongoing lawsuit in the US claims that XRP was “created it out of thin air” as part of a “never-ending initial coin offering” used to “raise “hundreds of millions of dollars”.
Ripple’s chief market strategist, Cory Johnson, told CNBC in April: “We absolutely are not a security. We don’t meet the standards for what a security is based on the history of court law.”
CEO Brad Garlinghouse added in June: “I think it’s really clear that XRP is not a security,” adding that XRP’s blockchain, or public ledger, “exists independent of ripple.”
However investors remain unconvinced that ripple’s problems can be so easily dismissed.
Olymp Capital CEO Christophe de Courson told Express.co.uk that the process could be painful.
He said: “If the SEC states XRP is a security, the coin will definitely take a big hit because it is listed on all the major exchanges – except Coinbase – and moreover, I would expect a strong negative reaction of the global crypto-market for such news.
“The coin will not be the only one to be hurt from such a decision, indeed affiliated ripple corporate entities will also suffer. It is interesting to note that several lawsuits targeting ripple entities already claimed that XRP was a security.
“On the other hand, XRP is not needed when using xCurrent, the product that gives banks ability to move efficiently money across border. xCurrent being the most used ripple’s product, I think that even if a classification of XRP as a security will be painful for ripple , they could cope with it.”
XRP holders are most concerned by the token being ring-fenced from other competing cryptocurrencies which began with speculation over why XRP has not been added to popular exchange Coinbase.
Ripple and XRP remarkable journey from obscurity to $3.40 back down to today’s price of $0.45 could potentially change direction with concern over its centralisation potentially excluding XRP from entry into a price boosting regulatory framework.
Anatoly Castella, CEO, Elpis Investments told Express.co.uk yesterday that ripple’s XRP is set to miss out because it is not a “Digital Fiat”, and not a “real” cryptocurrency.
Mr Castella warns that XRP falls short of the “purest interpretation of ‘cryptocurrency’.”
He said: “Ripple resembles a fintech platform combining the best elements of fiat money and blockchain cryptocurrency.
“If the SEC categorises ripple as a security, we will experience in the short term a big dip in its market value. In the long term it will simply become a digital asset owned by institutional investors.”