Bitcoin surges to 13-month high after US court ruling in favor of crypto firm

A representation of virtual cryptocurrencies is seen in this illustration taken on November 28, 2021.  Reuters/File
A representation of virtual cryptocurrencies is seen in this illustration taken on November 28, 2021. Reuters/File

Bitcoin hit its highest price in nearly 13 months so far this year on Friday in a major legal victory for the crypto industry after a US judge ruled that Ripple Labs violated federal law by offering its XRP token on public exchanges. No securities laws have been violated.

Bitcoin rose to $31,818 before trading around $30,935 at 1730 GMT on Friday.

Second-largest token ether had its best session since March on Thursday and XRP, which a US judge ruled can legally be sold on public crypto exchanges, soared 73% on Thursday and on Friday derived most of the benefits from.

“The regulatory environment is changing,” said Matthew Dibb, chief investment officer at crypto asset manager Astronaut Capital. “And according to what we’ve seen in the last 24 hours, it could get better.”

Justin D’Anethan, head of business development in Asia at KeyRock, a Hong Kong-based digital asset market maker, said that XRP tokens sold on public crypto exchanges were not securities under the law “probably serves as a precedent”.

“Ripple stakeholders were waiting for some regulatory clarity. Yesterday the court provided just that,” he added.

Following the decision, several major cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase and Bitstamp, have resumed trading of XRP on their platforms after suspending trading for the token in 2021 due to the SEC lawsuit.

Binance.US said on Friday that it has also enabled XRP trading on its exchange.

Coinbase, which was sued by the SEC last month for alleged securities law violations, saw its shares rise nearly 25% on Thursday as investors hoped the verdict in the Ripple case would be good for Coinbase.

The case is the first victory for a cryptocurrency company in a lawsuit brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Although the decision was specific to the individual case, it sparked a wave of optimism among crypto investors that more cryptocurrencies may not even be considered securities.

Still, some enthusiasm was dampened by a report from the Wall Street Journal that Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has laid off more than 1,000 people in recent weeks. The layoffs are ongoing and could result in the exchange losing more than a third of its workforce, the report said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

– With additional input from Reuters

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