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Ripple vs SEC news: Ripple vs SEC case is nearing a denouement. What to expect?

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Ripple vs SEC news

Ripple vs SEC news: the legal battle between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Ripple Labs may be coming to an end.

On Sunday, September 18, 2022, Ripple attorney James C. Filan tweeted that Ripple Labs, Brad Garlinghaus and Christian Larsen (current and former CEOs, respectively) had filed an early motion for summary judgment. It may be granted if the moving party proves there is no factual controversy.

What is the SEC vs Ripple case about?

The biggest controversy was around the authority of the regulator. Ripple argued that the SEC had jurisdiction over transactions related to XRP, Ripple Lab’s native coin, which took place on foreign exchanges such as Binance, Bitfinex, Bitforex, Bithumb, Bitlish, BitMart, Bitruem and Huobi.

The SEC has sued Ripple Labs; its former director Christian Larsen, and current CEO Brad Garlinghouse for allegedly raising $1.3 billion through the sale of unregistered securities (i.e., cryptocurrency XRP). The lawsuit was filed in December 2020.

XRP is not a security, Ripple believes

Ripple is convinced: The SEC cannot prove that XRP transactions include an “investment contract,” an important component necessary to classify an asset as a security under the so-called Hoey test.

Ripple, as well as Larsen and Garlinghaus, tried to use a statement made by senior official William Hinman in 2018 as an argument. He claimed that he did not consider Ethereum a security.

The Ripple ruling will affect the crypto industry

If the court listens to Ripple and grants summary judgment, the case will set a precedent in determining which cryptocurrencies are securities subject to SEC jurisdiction.

A recent White House statement on the regulation of cryptocurrencies has been criticized for providing clarification on how to determine whether cryptoassets belong in the securities class.

“Trying to squeeze digital assets, which are more like commodities than securities, into a securities regulatory framework just doesn’t work. That said, all roads don’t lead to the SEC because the SEC doesn’t have a proper regulatory framework,” noted Stu Alderoti, one of Ripple’s lawyers.

Earlier we reported that Yuga Labs would release another NFT collection of Mecha Apes.

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Coinbase holds 5% of all Bitcoin in existence: Data

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Blockchain intelligence platform Arkham recently identified that crypto exchange Coinbase holds almost 1 million Bitcoin (BTC) in its wallets. The coins are worth more than $25 billion at current market prices for BTC. 

According to Arkham, the exchange’s holdings amount to almost 5% of all existing Bitcoin. Arkham said that Coinbase holds a total of 947,755 BTC. At the moment, Bitcoin’s circulating supply is around 19,493,537, according to coin information website CoinGecko.

Furthermore, Arkham also noted that it tagged and identified 36 million Bitcoin deposit and holding addresses used by the exchange. According to Arkham, Coinbase’s largest cold wallet holds around 10,000 BTC. Based on the exchange’s financial reports, the intelligence company believes that Coinbase has more Bitcoin that are not yet labeled and could not be identified. 

While Coinbase holds over $25 billion in BTC in its wallets, the exchange only owns around 10,000 of all the Bitcoin it holds, which is worth roughly $200 million, according to recent data.

Related: Bitcoin mining can help reduce up to 8% of global emissions: Report

Meanwhile, community members expressed varying reactions to the news about the amount of Bitcoin the centralized exchange holds. Some believe it’s a sign to withdraw their BTC from exchanges, warning holders not to wait until exchanges start to halt withdrawals. Others say that since there are legitimate concerns over cold wallets, there’s no good way to store their assets.

When it comes to Bitcoin ownership by companies, business intelligence firm MicroStrategy still owns the most BTC. In earnings results posted on Aug. 1, the firm’s co-founder Michael Saylor declared that the company owns 152,800 BTC, worth over $4 billion at the time of writing.

Magazine: How to protect your crypto in a volatile market: Bitcoin OGs and experts weigh in

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Coinbase CEO warns against AI regulation, calls for decentralization

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Brian Armstrong, the CEO of crypto exchange Coinbase, expressed his stance on artificial intelligence (AI) regulation in a recent post on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter). 

On Sept. 23, Armstrong explained that he believes that AI should not be regulated. According to the Coinbase CEO, the AI space needs to develop as soon as possible because of reasons such as national security. In addition, Armstrong also noted that despite the best intentions of regulators, regulation “has unintended consequences,” arguing that it kills innovation and competition.

The Coinbase executive cited the internet as an example. Armstrong believes there was a “golden age of innovation” on the internet and software because it was not regulated. The Coinbase CEO suggested the same should be applied to AI technology. 

Furthermore, Armstrong also presented an alternative to regulation in terms of protecting the AI space. According to the executive, it would be better to “decentralize it and open source it to let the cat out of the bag.”

Related: Tether acquires stake in Bitcoin miner Northern Data, hinting at AI collaboration

Meanwhile, various jurisdictions across the globe have either started to regulate AI or express concerns about its potential effects. On Aug. 15, China’s provisional guidelines for AI activity and management came into effect. The regulations were published on July 10 and were a joint effort between six of the country’s government agencies. This is the first set of AI rules implemented within the country amid the recent AI boom.

In the United Kingdom, the competition regulator studied AI in order to identify its potential impact on competition and consumers. On Sept. 18, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority concluded that while AI has the potential to change people’s work and lives, the changes may happen too fast and could have a significant impact on competition.

Magazine: ‘AI has killed the industry’: EasyTranslate boss on adapting to change

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Bitcoin miners double down on efficiency and renewable energy at the World Digital Mining Summit

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Bitmain rolled out its next-generation Antminer S21 and S21 Hydro ASIC miners at the World Digital Mining Summit (WDMS) in Hong Kong on Sept. 22, revealing the crucial performance stats the entire industry has been waiting for. The S21 has a hash rate of 200 terahashes per second (TH/s) and an efficiency of 17.5 joules per terahash (J/T), while the S21 hydro hashes at 335 TH/s and 16 J/T, which is notable given that until recently, most Bitcoin ASICS were operating above the 20 J/T level.

With electricity costs continuing to rise year-over-year and the Bitcoin halving projected to occur in April 2024, ASIC efficiency is quickly becoming the paramount focus of miners, and many are also pivoting toward folding in renewable energy sources as a core component of their operations.

Bitcoin miners focus on efficiency and renewable energy

Sustainable development in the mining industry was a core theme discussed in a majority of the panels at the WDMS. In the opening roundtable, team members from Terrawulf, Core Scientific, CleanSpark and Iris Energy shared their perspectives on how further integration of renewable energy sources will become a critical strategy to implement for many miners after the April 2024 Bitcoin supply halving.

Bitmain World Digital Mining Summit. Source: Cointelegraph

According to Nazar Khan, Terrawulf’s chief operating officer:

“There’s a significant transition going on in the supply side of the generation process; there’s a concerted effort to decarbonize the entire supply stack, and so when we talk about Bitcoin miners consuming more renewable energy, that’s part of a broader theme that’s happening across the United States without Bitcoin mining as well. The role that we play is locating our Bitcoin mining loads in places where that’s happening and how do we facilitate that decarbonization process.“

One impact of the upcoming supply halving is that miners will maintain the same capital and operational costs, plus the need to pay down any revolving debts, while essentially seeing their block reward distribution cut in half.

For this reason, miners will either need to increase the percentage of their hash rate derived from sustainable energy sources or make efficiency adjustments to their ASIC fleet to maintain or increase their profitability.

Regarding the rollout of the Antminer XP 21 and its potential impact on the mining industry, BMC founder Justin Kramer said:

“The S21, if reliable, fairly priced and readily available — and yes, that’s a lot of ifs with Bitmain’s history — could revolutionize the crypto mining landscape with its efficiency. It is basically packing the power of two S19 100T miners into one unit. Despite this, the burgeoning aftermarket firmware market, coupled with hydro/immersion systems, give miners more tools to keep older generation miners, such as the S19, profitable also. Thus, while the S21 represents a notable advancement, it may not render sub 110 TH/s miners entirely obsolete.”

When asked about the more exciting aspects of the new S19 XP, Kramer noted that:

“I like that Bitmain is rewarding environmentally friendly mining farms with better pricing and advanced delivery with their new Carbon Neutral Certificate. But, I’ll add that, it was a little surprising when I noticed that both new S21 models offer 33% more hash rate (S21 200T versus 151T on S19j XP; S21 hydro is 335T versus the S19 XP Hydro at 257T). Is this a coincidence? I’m doubtful, and it likely signals more of the same systematic model releases from Bitmain where a slight tweak to the firmware and maybe a few other items that are adjusted results in a moderate increase in hash rate and a brand-new miner.”

Bitcoin is en route to becoming an ESG asset

A theme of the past few years has been an increase in Bitcoin miners and BTC advocates pushing back against the assertion that Bitcoin mining is bad for the environment, and that the industry’s reliance on carbon-based energy production accelerates emissions.

Countering this perspective, Hong Kong Sustaintech Foundation professor in accounting and finance, Haitian Lu, bluntly announced that:

“Bitcoin mining is promoting renewable energy adoption in many areas.”

Lu explained that “over the years, Bitcoin mining has become more efficient and is also using cleaner energy. History tells us that human development from an agricultural society to industrialization to the future of a digitalized economy goes with every increasing energy consumption per capita. What makes the difference is human’s ability to use renewable energy increases, thus achieving sustainable development.”

Like the perspectives shared by other panelists, Lu said that Bitcoin miners’ participation in demand response agreements with power producers and distributors leads to energy grid efficiency, and they “provide an economic incentive for the development of renewable energy “promotion and development of renewable energy projects.”

In addition to Bitcoin mining tapping into stranded energy, encouraging the development of renewable energy projects and helping to balance electric grids, the efficiency advancements of next-generation ASICs like the Antminer S21 reduce miners’ energy consumption while also allowing them to boost their profits.

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