XRP fans are practically falling over themselves in anticipation that the long-standing courtroom battle involving the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and fintech startup Ripple is finally coming to an end. Yet, the news that the deadline for expert discovery — which included the deposition of several expert witnesses — will be postponed might put a damper on their spirits.
The update was first shared by Eleanor Terrett of Fox Business in a tweet on Jan. 11. According to the journalist, the expert discovery deadline in the esoteric SEC v. Ripple lawsuit will be delayed by a month due to the rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
A source close to the litigation told Fox Business that a letter outlining this new motion will be filed in court as early as today.
The presiding Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn had previously granted SEC and Ripple’s motions to extend the deadline for expert discovery to January 14. While the latest report speaks of the deadline being pushed back a month, a specific date has not been offered yet.
The SEC in December 2020 hit the creator of the world’s eighth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap with a $1.3 billion grueling lawsuit. The agency alleges that Ripple knowingly sold its XRP cross-border remittances token as an unregistered security.
The suit not only caught Ripple and its supporters by surprise but added even more uncertainty to an already complex regulatory discussion over whether cryptocurrencies like XRP should be classified as securities, currencies, commodities, or something else.
That’s not all. The case upended Ripple’s partnerships as well as the market of XRP. Case in point, multiple crypto exchanges, and trading platforms delisted XRP in the wake of the lawsuit.
Nonetheless, Ripple decided to play a strong hand against the U.S. regulator. One of the main defenses used by the payments firm since the lawsuit was initiated is the “fair notice affirmative defense”. Ripple maintains the plaintiff failed to provide adequate notice that the sale of the XRP cryptocurrency was violating securities laws. Both the SEC and Ripple have scored several wins in court as they continue to meticulously counter each other’s claims.
With the expert discovery deadline extension, the case could take longer than originally anticipated.