Here’s what happened in crypto today

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Ripple Labs scored a major win in its battle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with XRP deemed as not a security when sold on digital asset exchanges. However, some lawyers argue an appeal is possible and that it may not necessarily help in cases against Binance and Coinbase.

Binance layoffs mount amid DOJ investigation

Binance has reportedly laid off over 1,000 workers in recent weeks, as the cryptocurrency exchange grapples with regulatory challenges and a U.S. Justice Department investigation. 

On July 14, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Changpeng Zhao-led exchange could lose more than a third of its staff as layoffs continue. Sources indicated that service workers, particularly in India, experienced the brunt of the job cuts. Zhao has referred to the reported layoff figures as “FUD” — fear, uncertainty and doubt.

As we continuously strive to increase talent density, there are involuntary terminations. This happens in every company. The numbers reported by media are all way off. 4 FUD.

On the bright side, they just can’t resist talking about us.

We are still hiring.

— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) July 14, 2023

Although many exchanges have struggled in the wake of crypto winter, Binance’s challenges multiplied after the SEC filed 13 charges against it in early June. The company has since faced regulatory obstacles in key European markets.

On May 31, Binance said it would be laying off 20% of its staff but referred to the measures as resource allocation instead of downsizing. A Binance spokesperson told Cointelegraph that the exchange was preparing “for the next major bull cycle” and was shuffling resources accordingly.

XRP tops Bitcoin on Upbit with $2.6B of trading volume in 24 hours

Trading volume of XRP (XRP) on the South Korean crypto exchange Upbit has surpassed Bitcoin (BTC) in the past 24 hours. The XRP/KRW trading pair saw $2.6 billion in trading volume in the last 24 hours following Ripple’s partial win against the SEC in its long-running court battle.

The XRP buying frenzy saw the coin account for 46% of all trading volume on Upbit, followed by Bitcoin with just 5% of the total share. XRP led the bullish momentum in the crypto market in the past 24 hours, helping other altcoins hit double-digit surges.

Upbit 24-hour trading volume. Source: CoinGecko

The buying frenzy was not just limited to South Korea. The XRP price saw a 92% surge on July 13, reaching a new one-year high of $0.91. This surge helped XRP to climb to fourth place in the crypto market cap rankings. Within hours of the court ruling, XRP’s market cap soared by as much as $21.2 billion to reach a new yearly high of $46.1 billion.

On July 13, Judge Analisa Torres issued a summary judgment in favor of Ripple Labs, ruling that XRP is not a security. However, the ruling refers only to the coin’s sales on digital asset exchanges. The judgment was greeted with relief by the XRP community, as the SEC lawsuit filed in 2020 forced several crypto exchanges in the U.S. to delist XRP. Coinbase, Kraken, OKX, Gemini and other exchanges have already announced relisting plans.

XRP ruling a “watershed moment,” but don’t celebrate yet

Ripple Labs’ split-decision victory against the U.S. securities regulator is being seen as a significant blow to the regulator’s “war on crypto.” The crypto community celebrated the win, with many describing it as a watershed moment.

The Ripple ruling today decimates the @SECGov‘s case against @coinbase. Have fun with that one @GaryGensler.

— Tyler Winklevoss (@tyler) July 13, 2023

The sentiment appears to come from a belief that the ruling will bode well for other altcoins deemed by the SEC as securities — meaning it could have a positive impact for Binance and Coinbase in their respective tussles with the SEC.

However, several digital asset lawyers warned against celebrating too soon.

Law firm partner Stephen Palley of Brown Rudnick noted that the summary judgment is only “partial” and that the ruling by Torres does not set a precedent — instead, it may only serve as persuasive commentary for future courts to follow if they so choose.

A word of caution: that order in the Ripple case is a partial summary judgment from a single district court judge.

While persuasive, it’s not binding precedent on other courts and will likely be appealed and could be reversed

don’t yolo into anything based on that decision

— Palley (@stephendpalley) July 13, 2023

Palley and others noted that there’s also the chance the SEC may appeal the decision, which presents the possibility that a higher court overturns the rulings made by Torres.

Judge deems XRP not a security in SEC lawsuit

Ripple Labs cleared a major hurdle on July 13 after Torres ruled in favor of the company in the case brought forward by the SEC.

Torres, a judge from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, agreed with Ripple Labs that roughly half of its $1.4 billion in XRP token sales didn’t constitute an illegal securities offering. Critically, the judge also determined that XRP is not a security.

“Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is GRANTED as to the Programmatic Sales, the Other Distributions, and Larsen’s and Garlinghouse’s sales, and DENIED as to the Institutional Sales,” court documents read.

PREDICTION now that the #Ripple summary judgment threw US #crypto regulation into further disarray:

Congress will finally act.

Federal financial regulators usually don’t open themselves to litigation that cld MASSIVELY cut back their jurisdiction grab. The SEC did. Next up…

— Caitlin Long ⚡️ (@CaitlinLong_) July 13, 2023

The value of XRP soared on the news, reaching an intraday high of nearly $0.89, according to CoinMarketCap. That’s the highest level in over two years.

Despite the apparent win, Ripple Labs isn’t completely out of the woods yet, as part of the SEC case is still headed to trial.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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