Ripple, the American tech company behind the crypto XRP, said Monday that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to file a lawsuit against it over the alleged sale of unlicensed securities, Fortune reports.
The lawsuit will also name Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and cofounder Chris Larsen as defendants, according to Garlinghouse, who told Fortune the agency will file the case in the near future.
Judith Burns, a spokesperson for the SEC, declined Fortune’s request for comment about the lawsuit or to confirm that there would be one.
“If the agency does sue Ripple, the action will follow years of debate between the company and the agency about whether XRP, a digital currency associated with Ripple, is a security, like a share of stock – which must be registered with the agency – or is instead a currency and thus beyond the SEC’s purview. XRP is the third most valuable cryptocurrency, and currently has a market cap of $23 billion,” said the Fortune article.
Garlinghouse, who criticized the SEC’s decision to sue so close to the holidays, and said Ripple will fight the case. “It’s not just Grinch-worthy, it’s shocking,” said Garlinghouse. “It’s an attack on the entire crypto industry and American innovation.”
Garlinghouse later tweeted: “We know crypto and blockchain technologies aren’t going anywhere. Ripple has and will continue to use XRP because it is the best digital asset for payments – speed, cost, scalability and energy efficiency. It’s traded on 200+ exchanges globally and will continue to thrive.”
At the time of publication, the price of XRP had fallen to 49 cents from its Monday high of 56 cents.