SEC Case Against Ripple Weakens: Can SEC Prove XRP Caused Harm?

The SEC’s bid for a nearly $2B penalty against Ripple could face a hurdle due to a recent court ruling.

Gary Gensler interrogating somebody in a dark and smoke filled room.
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  • Disgorgement, a key factor in the SEC’s financial attack on Ripple, has faced new legal hurdles.
  • The SEC may struggle to prove individual investor losses, potentially reducing Ripple’s penalty.
  • Even if XRP gets deemed a security, the SEC’s ability to financially cripple Ripple has come into question.

The ongoing legal battle between Ripple Labs, the company behind the XRP cryptocurrency, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has entered a critical phase. While the core issue of whether XRP is a security remains central, a recent court ruling could significantly impact the SEC’s ability to secure a major victory.

SEC’s Disgorgement Case Against Ripple Faces Hurdle

The crux of the SEC’s case against Ripple hinges on disgorgement, a legal remedy that forces a party to return allegedly ill-gotten gains. The SEC is seeking a hefty $1.95 billion from Ripple, comprising $876 million in disgorgement, the same in civil penalty, and $200 million in interest. However, a recent court decision has cast doubt on the SEC’s ability to achieve this hefty sum.

According to legal experts, a recent ruling established a stricter standard for disgorgement. The SEC is now required to demonstrate concrete financial losses individual investors suffer. The SEC’s argument that some XRP buyers were financially harmed because they bought at a lower price than others might not meet this new standard.


Without clear evidence of individual investor losses, the court may find it difficult to justify the sizeable disgorgement amount sought by the SEC. This could drastically reduce the final penalty imposed on Ripple Labs, even if the court rules that XRP is a security.

No Clear Investor Harm?

The recent ruling weakens the SEC’s case by highlighting the lack of identifiable victims. This further weakens the SEC’s claim of over $200 million in interest, as interest typically accrues on disgorgement amounts.

While the SEC could still pursue a financial penalty against Ripple, the absence of clear evidence of investor harm significantly weakens its position. 


This unexpected development adds another layer of complexity to the already intricate legal battle between Ripple and the SEC. The outcome of the case will undoubtedly significantly impact the future of cryptocurrency regulation in the United States.

On the Flipside

  • The SEC may argue that the new disgorgement standard shouldn’t apply in this case, setting a legal precedent for future crypto security offerings.
  • Even if the SEC fails to secure disgorgement, Ripple could still face a significant civil penalty if the court finds XRP to be a security.

Why This Matters

The SEC’s struggle to prove individual investor losses in Ripple’s XRP sale throws a wrench into their disgorgement strategy, potentially reducing the financial blow to Ripple even if the court deems XRP a security. This sets a potentially stricter precedent for future SEC enforcement actions within the cryptocurrency industry.

To learn more about the SEC’s proposed $2 billion fine against Ripple Labs, read here:

Ripple CEO Blasts SEC Fine: Proposed $2B Is “Outside of Law”

For an update on the lawsuit between the SEC and Ripple Labs regarding XRP being an unregistered security, read here:

SEC vs. Ripple Resolution Nears: Is $2B Fine the Final Stroke?

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.