Kraken Challenges SEC Labeling Citing Ripple Case Defense

Crypto exchange Kraken counters SEC’s “security” claims, mirroring Ripple’s argument and raising concerns of retaliation.

Jelly fishes bringing Kraken the XRP files.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • Kraken’s defense, mirroring Ripple Labs’, has highlighted the absence of a direct buyer-issuer link.
  • Kraken’s CEO has suspected the SEC lawsuit is payback for criticizing their regulatory approach.
  • Kraken has claimed the SEC’s lawsuit lacks concrete evidence to prove an “investment contract” exists.

The gloves are off in the ongoing battle between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the crypto industry. In a recent development, cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has mounted a legal defense against the SEC’s claims that certain tokens traded on its platform are unregistered securities. 

Kraken Argues Tokens Aren’t Securities

The exchange’s argument hinges on a key element: the lack of a direct connection between token issuers and buyers, mirroring a similar point in the ongoing Ripple Labs case. Kraken’s defense revolves around the SEC’s classification of tokens like ALGO, ADA, and MATIC as securities. 

This classification, if upheld, could have significant ramifications for the broader regulatory landscape of digital assets. The exchange argues that these tokens do not meet the criteria of an investment contract, a crucial element in defining a security under US law. 


Specifically, they claim that buyers do not expect profits derived solely from the issuer’s efforts, a key component of the Howey Test used by courts to determine if an asset qualifies as a security.

This argument draws inspiration from the Ripple case, where Judge Analisa Torres acknowledged the lack of a direct relationship between Ripple and token buyers in its programmatic sales model. 

If upheld on appeal, this judgment could significantly complicate the SEC’s efforts to secure a settlement with Ripple and potentially impact the agency’s approach to other crypto-related cases.

Kraken CEO Raises Alarms

Adding another layer to the story, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell has expressed concerns that the SEC’s lawsuit might be retaliation for the exchange’s past criticism of the agency’s regulatory overreach. 


Kraken previously testified before Congress in May 2023, advocating for a clearer legal framework for digital assets and suggesting limitations on the SEC’s jurisdiction. Powell sees the lawsuit as an attempt to silence dissent and delegitimize the exchange.

Kraken’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit further emphasizes the perceived lack of substance in the SEC’s claims. The motion argues that the SEC fails to identify any concrete “investment contract” between token buyers and issuers, falling short of the established legal criteria.

On the Flipside

  • The Ripple case is ongoing, and the final judgment might not provide definitive clarity on the issue of securities classification for all crypto tokens.
  • The SEC might argue that Kraken’s lack of connection to issuers is irrelevant, as the platform still facilitates their transactions and profits.

Why This Matters

Kraken’s legal challenge directly confronts the SEC’s authority over cryptocurrencies, potentially shaping the future of regulations and setting a precedent for other exchanges and tokens. If Kraken succeeds in de-classifying listed tokens as securities, it could significantly impact the broader crypto market by reducing regulatory pressure and boosting investor confidence.

To learn more about the regulatory challenges and privacy concerns surrounding crypto self-custody wallets, read here:
Kraken Demands Crypto Self-Custody Wallet Info from UK Users

Wondering when the Ripple vs. SEC lawsuit will be settled? Check out this article for key dates and analysis:
Ripple vs. SEC Case Is in the Endgame: These Are the Key Dates

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Kyle Calvert

Kyle Calvert is a cryptocurrency news reporter for DailyCoin, specializing in Ripple, stablecoins, as well as price and market analysis news. Before his current role, Kyle worked as a student researcher in the cryptocurrency industry, gaining an understanding of how digital currencies work, their potential uses, and their impact on the economy and society. He completed his Masters and Honors degrees in Blockchain Technology within Esports and Business and Event management within Esports at Staffordshire University.