SEC v. Ripple takes its toll as fresh competition arises: Algorand-powered Six Clovers

Rick Steves

The Judge has extended the SEC period to complete discovery. The SEC now has until August 31 to conduct fast discovery, with expert discovery being pushed until October 15.

There is a new decentralized global payments network in town. It’s called Six Clovers and is led by two former PayPal staffers and an early employee of Ripple.

It is being marketed as a decentralized cross-border payment network connecting traditional and digital currencies to take on SWIFT. But the same goes for Ripple Labs.

The infrastructure connects banks, merchants, and payment providers to transact in digital currencies around the world, fully integrating real-time payments using the efficiency and scale of digital currencies.

The company is founded by former PayPal business and technology leaders Jim Nguyen and Nas Kavian, and is backed by investments from Borderless Capital as the lead investor with participation from BCW Group and Grupo Supervielle, one of Argentina’s leading banks, along with angel investors.

Jim Nguyen, Co-Founder and CEO, Six Clovers, said: “Six Clovers is a next-generation payments infrastructure that solves many of today’s challenges with domestic and cross-border payments, while opening up a whole new world of digital finance opportunities. We equip financial institutions, payment providers, and merchants with a full-stack, blockchain native payment infrastructure to seamlessly and securely move and transact in digital currencies globally.”

Built on Algorand, the payments network developed by Six Clovers is called RAPID – another wink at Ripple? – which is pretty similar to RippleNet’s original name, xRapid.

Steve Kokinos, Chief Executive Officer at Algorand, said: “Six Clovers is creating a bridge between traditional and decentralized finance, expanding access to the next generation of digital products and services, an abundance of which we are seeing built on Algorand. We are excited to see Six Clovers leverage Algorand’s fast, stable and efficient blockchain architecture to build the next-generation decentralized payment network.”

RAPID is ready to challenge its competitors, namely SWIFT, which still is the leading protocol for cross-border payments, and has since developed its blockchain-powered product, SWIFT gpi, as it takes aim at the most desired market of CBDCs.

Since its launch, Ripple has seen a growing number of new competitors looking to take on SWIFT’s leadership, including Fnality aka “XRP Killer”.

The launch of Six Clovers’ RAPID is great news as it shows there is a valuable market to be tapped and a maturing technology to offer quality services in the financial services sector.

RAPID redesigned time-tested payment capabilities with the Algorand blockchain and uses regulated stablecoins including USDC to represent fiat on-chain to enable the instant transfer of value between sender and receiver.

The network can sustain nearly 46,000 peer-to-peer transactions per second and can confirm transaction finality in approximately 2.5 seconds, with the strictest global data privacy requirements.

David Garcia, CEO and Managing Partner at Borderless Capital, lead investor in Six Clovers, commented: “The launch of Six Clovers marks a major milestone in helping existing financial institutions to get onboard with digital currencies, which are the future of finance. Fueling cross-border transactions with regulated stablecoins to represent fiat on-chain has never been done before, and is going to unleash a wave of mass blockchain adoption across banks, merchants, and payment providers as they see the need to embrace the digital future.”

Six Clovers also offers RAMP, a single API connection to enable fiat on- and off-ramps using global payments and services specific to the digital currency ecosystem. Together with RAPID, SIX Clovers presents an end-to-end platform that bridges the gap between fiat and digital currencies.

In the meantime, Ripple is stuck with the lawsuit brought forth by the SEC.

SEC v. Ripple summed up

The world of blockchain technology is moving fast and Ripple Labs is in a top position to lead the finance industry to adopt distributed ledger to its processes, except for the lawsuit the firm is embroiled in.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Ripple and its co-founders with an unregistered securities offering when it sold XRP since 2012.

Both parties are disputing two main points: whether XRP is in fact a security and if the SEC provided Ripple with propper fair notice that selling XRP would be deemed a securities offering.

In regard to XRP being a security or not, while nothing has been decided yet, the Judge did drop a bombshell back in March.

“My understanding about XRP is that not only does it have a currency value but it has a utility and that utility distinguishes it from Bitcoin and Ether.”

As for the fair notice argument, that is currently the most disputed issue in the lawsuit and is probably the one that could do the most damage to the SEC and its enforcement division for years.

If the judge rules that the financial watchdog failed to provide fair notice, that ruling can be used by future cryptocurrency firms that find themselves in similar lawsuits. Interestingly, the SEC used that as a fear-mongering tactic to ask the court not to give in to the fair notice defense.

Ripple, however, states that this lawsuit is anything but similar to the past enforcement actions brought forth by the regulator. One main point is that, unlike other firms who launched initial coin offerings to raise funds to build their blockchain products and services, Ripple already had XRP in place when it sold the digital asset.

This leads to the question: what is the SEC’s rationale regarding Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP? This has prompted Ripple Labs to ask the regulator to turn over its internal documents, which Judge Sarah Netburn approved.

The SEC, however, keeps on refusing to disclose that information despite the Judge’s insistence. Should the regulator remain uncooperative, the Judge could order monetary sanctions.

Earlier in June, the SEC asked for more time to investigate the case, which the defendants oppose as they contend they had sufficient time to investigate this matter before filing suit and because Ripple wants to move for summary judgment as soon as possible.

Ripple has recently stated that the SEC has not shown good cause to extend the discovery and an extension will unduly prejudice Ripple’s business.

And that is probably the regulator’s strategy: to threaten Ripple’s business as much as it can in order to obtain the best settlement deal possible. Ripple Labs is not like the other defendants. It is well funded and seems to have a case to claim the lawsuit is unprecedented, which could trigger a win on the fair notice defense.

That is likely to be the most feared outcome for the SEC. So, the regulator will do anything to avoid going there, namely stalling the case to hurt Ripple’s business.

The blockchain firm also wants to go public once the lawsuit is over. That can only happen if the lawsuit is really over, but a settlement could be costly for Ripple and for its digital asset as it may bottleneck the flow of XRP into the market for years.

In the likely event of a settlement, Ripple’s XRP could end up like Block.one’s EOS. The latter has recently settled a class action lawsuit after settling with the SEC in 2019. Block.one rolled over for the regulator and maybe it was for the best.

Should Ripple choose further litigation, the road could turn rockier and eventually result in a Telegram-like outcome. For now, the Judge has extended the SEC period to complete discovery.

The SEC now has until August 31 to conduct fast discovery, with expert discovery being pushed until October 15.

 

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