California judge sends Ripple case to trial, contradicts NY judge

A judge in California has ordered Ripple to go to trial under the civil law on securities. This decision is significant within the realm of digital currencies. Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California partially granted Ripple’s request for an early ruling on the case, leading to the decision. According to the allegations in this legal action, Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, made false statements in a television interview about the sales of securities in 2017.

The case involved numerous allegations, but Judge Hamilton dismissed the charges of failure to register. Instead, he thought that the key issue of the trial would involve fraud with regard to Garlinghouse’s statements to the investors as well as his compliance with California’s securities laws. This will be the central consideration in the future jury trial.

The root of the conflict stems from Garlinghouse’s 2017 statements that he owns a lot of XRP and allegedly sold millions of XRP tokens at various crypto exchanges in the same year. The accuser claims that these acts were misleading to investors and contrary to state laws.

The defense team representing Ripple contended that the Howey Test, commonly used in the United States to identify securities, could not classify XRP as a security. Allegations that Ripple was making false statements about securities prompted this argument. However, Judge Hamilton disagreed with this reasoning and decided not to adopt the ruling of Judge Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York, who said that XRP failed the elements of the Howey test when sold directly to retail buyers through exchanges.

The stances presented in the judicial decisions represent the continuing debate and need for regulatory clarification when it comes to digital currencies. It was considered a victory for Ripple, and Judge Torres’ ruling could set a precedent for similar cases. However, another SDNY judge, Jed Rakoff, limited its effect with a contrary decision in another case involving Terraform Labs and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Moreover, Judge Hamilton noted in his decision that it is impossible to definitively resolve the classification of the XRP in transactions with “programmatic” traders—investors who are not institutions—without taking into account their reasonable expectations of gain. This decision must also take into account Ripple’s efforts.

Stu Alderoty, Ripple’s chief legal officer, expressed contentment but caution after the announcement of the ruling. He agreed that the motion to dismiss the class action allegations was a positive outcome, but also stated the challenges of managing the rest of the claim during the trial.


It remains an issue of significant concern as the legal proceedings progress towards a trial in the cryptocurrency industry. This implies the possibility of significant consequences for the marketing and sale of digital assets. The final judgment could not only influence Ripple’s business but also set a precedent for cryptocurrency regulation in America.

Trevor Holman

Trevor Holman follows crypto industry since 2011. He joined CryptoNewsZ as a news writer and he provides technical analysis pieces and current market data. He is also an avid trader. In his free time, he loves to explore unexplored places.

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