Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s chief executive, last year publicly contemplated at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the initial public offering for the San Francisco startup.
The company recently raised about $ 200 million in a venture funding round led by Tetragon Financial Group, with a valuation of $ 10 billion. The value of its flagship product, a cryptocurrency called XRP, has fallen over the previous year. But Ripple is poised to rebuild the infrastructure for cross-border trade, said Garlinghouse, promising that its future is bright.
A year later, the IPO was canceled. Instead, Ripple’s future hinges on the judge’s decision in a civil suit filed in December by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Regardless of the outcome, this case is expected to set a major precedent for how US regulators create rules and laws covering cryptocurrencies. It also highlights a broader truth about most digital currencies: Beyond the two largest, bitcoin and ether, most of the hundreds of others have struggled to find utilitarian value beyond speculation.
At the heart of the SEC’s suit is the debate about XRP, a bitcoin-like digital asset created by the founder of Ripple that will grow to become the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency. It is designed to be part of a network that will help banks cut costs in cross-border transfers. The related software, however, never gained traction, the SEC accused, leaving XRP with no apparent purpose, other than to funnel sales to Ripple.