The decision by the US Security Exchange Commission that both Ethereum and Bitcoin will not be treated as securities has sparked a debate as to whether Ripple’s XRP Coin is a currency or security. According to reports, the US FinCen has already set a standard for defining Ripple, and it is expected that SEC follows that pattern.
Ripple Is a Currency
Ripple, which is the third largest cryptocurrency in the market, is facing a lawsuit claiming that the company is in control of XRP. Ripple has denied the claim, hiring two former SEC officials to defend them.
In 2015, Ripple was presented with a lawsuit accusing the company of selling the XRP which is its virtual currency without registering with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). They were also accused of not enforcing and maintaining an adequate anti-money laundering (AML) program aimed at preventing money launderers or terrorist financiers from using their products.
Following the lawsuit, Ripple went ahead to sign a settlement agreement with FinCEN paying a fine of $700,000.
They were also fined the sum of $450,000 after the resolution of the criminal charges levelled against them.
Ripple was after that permitted by FinCEN to continue the sales of XRP. Ripple was to begin implementing and maintaining an effective AML program and adhering to the rules governing Funds Transfer and Funds Travel. They were also to get independent external auditors who will evaluate their compliance with the BSA every two years until the year 2020.
By this agreement, it is evident that FinCEN had allowed Ripple Inc, to continue trading XRP. Therefore if XRP has not been licensed, then FinCEN would have to explain why they allowed Ripple to keep selling an unlicensed security.
The agreed facts of the settlement show that Ripple’s XRP is a currency under the US Fed Government. However, it is not possible for an entity to be both security and currency.
Speaking on the issue, Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse said that one lawsuit could not determine whether the XRP is a security or not. In his opinion, the XRP is clearly not security as it exists independently of Ripple.