Ripple’s XRP, currently the fourth largest cryptocurrency by value, according to CoinMarketCap, is fighting for its life.
XRP, the digital token controlled by San Francisco-based Ripple, has lost half its value in the past 24 hours, falling into a free fall after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said the token was illegally marketed to retail customers.
Now that a number of smaller cryptocurrency exchanges are removing XRP from their rigs, traders and analysts are questioning the future of XRP – with one longtime critic describing it as the “beginning of the end.”
“I think it’s the beginning of the end,” said Francis Coppola, a financial analyst and commentator who has publicly criticized the company and the XRP token in the past. “Investors are already getting rid of XRP as quickly as possible.”
The price of XRP, after rising during November on the back of a fresh crypto rally, fell from $0.64 to $0.30 in less than a week as traders and investors processed the news.
Earlier this week, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse revealed that the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a lawsuit against the company arguing that the XRP token is a tradable asset, otherwise known as a security, and therefore subject to its regulations. The lawsuit alleges that Ripple has raised $1.3 billion in unregistered securities offerings since 2013.
Three smaller crypto exchanges, OSL, Beaxy and CrossTower, have either suspended or removed XRP trading entirely. And in another blow, Bitwise Asset Management has liquidated its XRP position, it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for US-based Coinbase, one of the world’s largest exchanges with nearly 40 million users worldwide and preparing for a massive initial public offering, said it is currently studying ” [its] options” when asked how she would respond to the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple.
“Any exchange that allows XRP to be traded is likely to be in violation of the law, so exchanges are obligated to delist it,” Coppola said, adding that the SEC is in “very good shape,” even though “the wheels of law are grinding a lot” slowly, so XRP is not going away yet. “
Veteran financial author and trading professional Glenn Goodman, who has bought and sold XRP “at various times in the past,” said via email: “This potential court case is very serious for XRP, potentially fatal.”
“The SEC doesn’t flinch — if it wants to make Ripple an example of Ripple as a way to warn similar crypto companies, it will do its best to win this case, and XRP may have to be removed from most crypto exchanges.”
However, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse, who is also accused of violating US securities law along with former CEO Chris Larsen, has vowed to fight the lawsuit.
“The Securities and Exchange Commission is completely wrong about the facts and the law, and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail in the face of impartial fact-finders,” Garlinghouse wrote in a blog post.
“The Securities and Exchange Commission has allowed XRP to operate as a currency for more than eight years, and we question the motivation behind taking this action just days before the change in management.”
Ripple’s response, along with the timing of the SEC, which comes at the end of the Trump administration, appears to have halted the XRP selloff, for the time being.
“XRP fell fast and hard, but quickly found support at the level where the bull run started a month ago,” Goodman said. “So to put it in perspective, we’re still only going back to November prices here! But it could get worse, depending on how the new Securities and Exchange Commission decides to move forward. And the officials who started this court case are leaving with the Trump administration , so we can’t know who will decide who to replace him.”
However, the outlook for Ripple and XRP in the coming year looks bleak, with some crypto investors expecting XRP to continue its long-term decline that has seen it lose more than 90% of its value since its highs in early 2018.
“The prospects for Ripple’s transformative 2021 look perfect now,” Anthony Trenchev, managing partner of digital asset manager Nexo, said by email. “Just as regulatory pressure has been easing, the SEC has made clear it is delaying but not forgetting.” 2020, the price of XRP was directly correlated with the project’s waning traction on social media, and the SEC lawsuit dealt another blow to XRP’s potential for price recovery.
Elsewhere, some in the bitcoin and crypto community who believe that Ripple’s control of XRP means it has not been sufficiently decentralized to be considered similar to bitcoin or other major tokens have cheered Ripple’s problems.
Said an engineer at the Bitcoin buying app Swan Bitcoin known as ageHe is also the author of Bitcoin 21 lessons.
“Pooling bitcoin with projects that could be subject to such a lawsuit is a category error. The primary purpose of bitcoin is to bring into existence something that looks like a natural resource, something that simply exists in the world. Nothing else in the crypto space has this property.”