Did The Supreme Court Just Give Ripple A Win?

Did the U.S. Supreme Court just hand a major assist to $XRP in its battle against the SEC? 🤔

There’s been a lot of news and rumors floating around that the most recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bittner v. United States has done just that. 

I’m not an attorney, but I’ll try to summarize what real attorneys (they claim) and some law firm sites have to say about this debacle. 

You can read the full case here (good luck), but here’s a rundown:

  1. The Bank Secrecy Act, created to prevent money laundering and tax evasion, requires U.S. citizens with overseas accounts to report their holdings.
  2. Unintentional violations can result in a $10,000 fine. 
  3. Alexandru Bittner (dual Romanian and U.S. citizen) immigrated to the U.S., became a citizen, and then returned to Romania after a few years. 
  4. Between 2007 – 2011, while in Romania, he didn’t know he was required to file those accounts even when living in Romania until he moved back to the U.S.
  5. He filed the reports – because he’s a good citizen. 
  6. The IRS turned around and assigned a $10,000 penalty per account that Bittner failed to report.
  7. Bittner gets a $2.72 million fine. 272 accounts * $10,000 = $2.7 million.
  8. Writing for the majority, Justice Gorsuch wrote:

“Best read, the [Bank Secrecy Act] treats the failure to file a legally compliant report as one violation carrying a maximum penalty of $10,000, not a cascade of such penalties calculated on a per-account basis.”

So how would this affect Ripple?

Part of Ripple’s defense is based on the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution – that individuals be given fair notice for actions prohibited by law. Ripple didn’t know they had to register with the SEC because the SEC didn’t (and still hasn’t) provide clarity on what makes a cryptocurrency a security. 

But attorney James K. Filan of Filan Law’s Twitter probably summarizes it best:

We’ll have to see if judge Torres references the case in her decision – which can happen any day now (or in the next two months). 👩‍⚖️

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