Coinfeeds Daily → Kraken Faces Uphill Battle in SEC Lawsuit Over Digital Assets

Kraken Faces Uphill Battle in SEC Lawsuit Over Digital Assets

Published: Jun 21, 2024 | Last Updated: Jun 21, 2024
Howard Kane
Kraken and the SEC
Image: Kraken and the SEC

Federal judge leans towards continuing SEC's case against Kraken, focusing on whether digital assets qualify as securities.

The legal battle between cryptocurrency exchange Kraken and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is intensifying. A federal judge in California has indicated a likely continuation of the SEC's lawsuit against Kraken, suggesting that Kraken's request to dismiss the case may be denied.

Understanding the Case

The SEC's lawsuit against Kraken centers on whether the digital assets offered on Kraken's platform can be considered investment contracts. According to the SEC, Kraken's asset-specific web pages promote these assets in a way that could influence their prices, which they argue qualifies them as securities under the Howey test. The Howey test is a legal framework used to determine whether a transaction qualifies as an investment contract and, therefore, a security.

Judge's Initial Inclinations

The federal judge has found it plausible that the digital assets on Kraken could indeed be considered investment contracts. This means that the judge is leaning towards denying Kraken's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The judge's skepticism about Kraken's arguments, including the major questions doctrine, indicates that the case is likely to proceed further.

Implications for Kraken and the Crypto Industry

If the judge denies Kraken's dismissal request, the case will move into a prolonged discovery phase. This phase will involve extensive fact-finding and legal arguments, similar to the ongoing legal battle between Ripple and the SEC. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for cryptocurrency regulation and Kraken's operations. Notably, Kraken had previously attempted to settle the matter by paying $30 million and ceasing its staking services for U.S. clients.

Key Takeaways

The progression of this case hinges on the interpretation of what constitutes an investment contract and the regulatory authority over digital assets. The judge's inclination to continue the lawsuit suggests that Kraken's arguments may not be sufficient to dismiss the case at this stage. This development is crucial for the cryptocurrency industry as it could set a precedent for how digital assets are regulated in the future.

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