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U.S. judge weighs Terra tokens’ security status

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TL;DR

  • A U.S. judge is deliberating whether Terraform Labs’ digital assets, including TerraUSD and Luna, are securities, which is central to the SEC’s fraud case against the company.
  • Terraform Labs and founder, Do Kwon, face allegations of defrauding investors by selling unregistered securities.
  • The company disputes these claims, arguing their digital assets don’t fit the securities definition, implying SEC’s lack of jurisdiction over the industry.

As the growing influence of digital currencies disrupts financial markets globally, the nature of these digital assets and their regulatory status are under intense scrutiny.

A pivotal case involving Terraform Labs and its founder, Do Kwon, is at the epicenter of this scrutiny, with a U.S. judge currently deliberating over the company’s digital assets and their status as securities.

Digital assets under microscope in the U.S.

At the crux of the issue is whether the digital assets produced by Terraform Labs are considered securities, a decision that will significantly impact the ongoing fraud case brought forth by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Terraform Labs and Do Kwon.

Terraform Labs is the progenitor of two cryptocurrencies that, following their catastrophic collapse, provoked upheaval in cryptocurrency markets worldwide.

The SEC’s case against Terraform Labs and Kwon accuses them of defrauding investors and selling unregistered securities valued in the billions of dollars. The defendants have since implored U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan to dismiss the allegations.

Terraform Labs’ algorithmic stablecoin, TerraUSD, which is designed to maintain a one-to-one peg with the U.S. dollar, is one of the two cryptocurrencies in question.

Its valuation was contingent on another associated token, Luna. In May 2022, a failure in maintaining the 1:1 dollar peg led to both tokens losing nearly all their value, causing significant fallout in the crypto markets.

At the time of the collapse, TerraUSD, also known as UST, boasted a market cap exceeding $18.5 billion, making it the tenth largest cryptocurrency.

Defining the securities contract

During the hearing, Rakoff questioned if Terraform Labs’ offering of the Anchor protocol — providing up to 20% returns on TerraUSD deposits — should not be viewed as a security.

The SEC complaint alleges that Terraform Labs and Kwon misrepresented the stability of UST and assured investors that the firm’s tokens would appreciate in value.

Terraform Labs and Kwon are contesting these allegations, arguing that their digital assets do not conform to the securities definition, thereby rendering the SEC incapable of regulating the industry.

During the hearing, SEC attorney Devon Staren reaffirmed their stance, arguing, “We’re not doing anything new here. We are simply applying the securities laws.”

The case’s final decision is pending, with the judge announcing that he will make a ruling on the motion to dismiss by July 14th. This decision will not only shape the fate of Terraform Labs and Do Kwon but could also set a precedent for the regulatory status of digital assets in the future.

With such high stakes, the case underscores the complexities and challenges inherent in the evolving digital currency landscape.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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