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7 December 2023
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Will Leadership Shakeup at SEC Impact Ripple and XRP Case? Top Crypto Lawyer Explains Why It’s Extremely Unlikely

A prominent crypto lawyer says a leadership shuffle at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is unlikely to have an impact on the agency’s case against Ripple.

The SEC unveiled its lawsuit against the San Francisco-based payments company days before its Chairman, Jay Clayton, stepped down.

Although his replacement Elad Roisman is viewed as more crypto-friendly, Compound general counsel Jake Chervinsky says optimism over the change is likely misguided.

“It’s extremely unlikely that changes in SEC leadership will have any impact on the Ripple case.

Given Commissioner Peirce’s conspicuous silence, I’d guess the vote was unanimous in favor of filing. Regardless, the case is being prosecuted by enforcement lawyers who are here to stay.

To clarify the point re: Commissioner Peirce, she’s often vocal when she disagrees with her colleagues on enforcement (e.g., Kik, Unikrn). That she hasn’t commented may suggest she approved. [On the other hand], it may be inappropriate to speak up while charges are pending, so it might mean nothing.

Even so, she’s the only one who’s shown interest in voting not to approve crypto enforcement actions. You can see the results of Commission votes on district court actions here (after they’re resolved).”

Behind the scenes, Chervinsky says the lawsuit has been voted on and approved by the Commissioners.

“Even without Jay Clayton, the majority of Commissioners have still voted to approve every action the Enforcement Division’s proposed. There’s no reason to believe he was a swing vote on this. Anyway, it’d be a real shock for the SEC to bring a case & then abandon it weeks later.

Beyond that, it’s a mistake to focus only on leadership & minimize the enforcement lawyers working the case. Jay Clayton’s name isn’t on the complaint. This comes from other high-ranking officials (Richard Best, Jorge Tenreiro, etc.) and their team, who are surely committed to it.”

Roisman is expected to retain his role as acting Commissioner until a more permanent replacement is nominated by President-elect Joe Biden.

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