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It’s been almost six months since the United States Securities and Exchange Commission first charged Ripple Labs with illegal securities offerings. While the same is well away from being resolved anytime soon, what it has also done is fueled and cultivated a host of opinions on the same, both legal and otherwise.
Attorney John Deaton has been one of those sharing his legal opinions online, with Deaton having already been in the news thanks to his filing of a motion to intervene on behalf of XRP holders in the aforementioned lawsuit.
While Deaton has always argued that both SEC and Ripple Labs are in no position to represent the class of XRP holders he has been representing, like the defendants in the case, Deaton has in the past asserted that the regulatory agency was wrong to take the San Francisco-based firm to court.
According to the attorney, in the aforementioned case, “the ‘security’ was neither the Gram Purchase Agreement nor the Gram, but the entire scheme,” with Deaton adding,
In Telegram, like Howey, there were actual purchase contacts involved and the Courts said even the contracts themselves aren’t the Securities.”
To many in the crypto-community, the belief that the SEC’s case might be faulty resonates on too many levels. In fact, it can perhaps be argued that this is something the agency recognizes as well.
Consider these recent developments, for instance. For starters, the SEC, via a recent filing, told the court presided by Judge Netburn that a loss in the said case would have consequences far beyond the present scope of the case since future defendants will be able to look back at Ripple’s defense as precedential.
What’s more, Jay Clayton, ex-Chair of the SEC under whom the agency filed the lawsuit in the first place, recently co-authored an Op-ed where he seemingly repeated some of Ripple’s old talking points.
On the back of Ripple’s string of small legal victories over the past few months, do the aforementioned developments sound like the SEC is confident it has a case? According to many, the answer is in the negative. In fact, according to some like attorney Arturo Portilla, “there’s a possibility they were aware that the facts/law weren’t completely on their side, so they preferred to throw the embarrassment hot potato to the entrant team.”
Deaton was quick to chip in here as well, with the attorney speculating,
“At the end of the day, you don’t file the most significant enforcement action in modern history regarding the hottest topic in global finance (digital currency) and walk out the door the next day. It stinks of corruption.”
What then? At the end of the day, all of this is just conjecture, with no party certain of which way the court is likely to rule. According to Deaton, however, the pendulum will swing the defendants’ way if the court follows the existing precedent. He added,
“Even though people have called for a Ripple Test or a more modern test than Howey when applied to digital assets, make no mistake about it – under current law (ie Howey and Telegram) – #XRPHolders win.”
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SEC Chairman Gary Gensler visited the Aspen Institute for a conference this summer and made it clear that the rules were “awfully clear” on digital assets. He said something similar in a recent interview with the Financial Times, urging blockchain and fintech developers to “talk to us, come in!” The fate of the industry, like all finance, is about trust, he added.
Encouraged by these words, one of the biggest companies in the crypto-industry, Coinbase, moved in for guidance on their new product.
What happened next? Well, Coinbase was slapped with a Wells Notice faster than it could say ‘regulatory clarity.’ This is now yet another chapter in the SEC’s love-hate relationship with cryptocurrency organizations. This time, however, it might be more personal than what meets the eye.Brief flashback in 3, 2, 1…
On Twitter, Armstrong claimed the threat of legal action came as a surprise since the organization has been speaking to the SEC for weeks before its lending product launch. Now, while many in the community are empathizing with Coinbase, it is hard to look past the level of naivety displayed by the public company.
I mean, what did you expect, Brian? A kiss and good luck greetings from the most ambiguous regulators in the United States?SEC’s Coinbase reaction is not surprising
Adding Coinbase to its list of dissatisfied customers, it is not at all surprising that the SEC has continued to go on the offensive against cryptocurrency-related organizations. Regulators have often maintained their apparent ‘high horse’ opinion that the sheer size of the digital asset ecosystem compels them to make sure these operations lie within the ambit of existing laws and guidelines.
However, Ripple is standing right on the side, and the SEC hasn’t played exactly by the rules.
According to Armstrong, Coinbase was not provided with any conclusive explanation as to why their lend program or their potential lending contract is being looked at as securitization of an asset, in this case, USDC. It resonates fairly well with the fact that the Commission also denied Ripple’s motion to prove its Howey test application.
In fact, the SEC gloriously responded that Ripple did not like the answers they received, hence, they were pushing ahead with the motion.
But, aren’t regulators supposed to explain the reasoning behind such lawsuits? Coinbase execs are pondering over the same question, just like Ripple a few months back.
Additionally, the SEC also demanded the exchange provide customer information from its Lend program waiting list. This is the SEC trying to breach privacy violations, further lending credence to the impression that anti-crypto sentiment is popular among key policymakers.An ulterior motive to protect the traditional financial system?
Before dipping our toes into that narrative, here is a recap of what the Coinbase Lend program is all about.
The proposed plan is that the exchange will allow its customers to lend their USDC on the platform, in return for 4% annual interest.
Now, USDC is a cryptocurrency, but it is also a stablecoin. Hence, its value is more or less $1 at all times. Now, a 4% annual interest doesn’t sound like a lot. However, for comparison, here is the breakdown of variable rate products for consumer customers at the Bank of America.
As illustrated above, the annual interest offered by Coinbase is much higher than Bank of America. According to data, 4% annual interest is 8 times higher than the national average for saving accounts in the United States.
Now, it is easier to understand why the SEC would want beef with unregulated crypto-companies. Especially when their beloved banks are facing the threat of capital outflows.
Coinbase is currently offering higher annual interest than banks and it is also a publicly listed company. Its quarterly trading volumes of $500 billion can be enough to bring potential customers to its Lend program. This would invariably result in capital flows from banks to crypto-assets. The SEC may be ambiguous, but the agency and its execs are not stupid. In fact, they have likely identified the bigger picture.
The SEC’s legal action against Coinbase might also be an indication of upcoming federal enforcement against crypto-lending. And, what better way to send a message than going after the blue-chip brand of Coinbase?Are Coinbase’s hands clean though?
Without sounding like a cheerleader for the exchange, it is imperative to follow both sides of a story. Now, it might be technically incorrect to suggest Coinbase’s arguments about lending hold up against being a securitized asset. As far as U.S securities laws are concerned, a lending contract can be proven as a security but the way SEC has conducted the matter can be considered out of line.
However, here is the potential hook. According to David Canellis, the SEC and Coinbase have been having these conversations for about 6 months now. That is at least a month before the company went public in April 2023.
Now, speculations are rife that Coinbase might have known earlier that its lending program will fall under the security banner.
Coinbase had to go public before launching the lending program because the credibility of being publicly listed obviously goes a long way.
Consider this – With respect to insider stock sales, early Coinbase investors dumped $5.44 billion worth of stock in retail within 145 days. That is 5 times more than the recent list of companies launching their IPO.
Hence, Coinbase execs’ arguments that they had no idea about the lawsuit until recently may be fallacious. The SEC hasn’t responded to those claims yet, so there is still something to look out for though.No one wins the feud
Global financial innovation is currently at risk with the SEC-Coinbase feud. It is not often you have billionaire investors like Mark Cuban indicating that the SEC’s actions can lead to trillions of dollars being lost in economic benefit for the United States.
That is definitely true.
While Coinbase’s hands may not be clean here, it is also unfair to suggest that the lending program is wrong or immoral. Coinbase is propagating a properly-vetted process for their investment program so that they can disassociate USDC from any type of price volatility. Such cryptocurrency products may help the general investor bridge the gap between existing investors.
It is not a ‘rich getting richer situation’ anymore. Without such options, a majority of the population is left with nominal zero-interest bank accounts. Those aren’t great alternatives either.
SEC’s episodes with Coinbase and Ripple are reflective of the rigid financial regulatory system. The SEC ain’t winning any brownie points by stamping its authority since the likes of Coinbase will continue to push the boundaries of fintech and crypto-upheaval.
A UK antitrust case against Apple has once again been thrown out, after an appeal tribunal ruled that the original decision was correct – that the UK’s competition watchdog had missed a legal deadline.
The ruling stands despite the fact that two Apple App Store policies were found to be anticompetitive, and even though the tribunal appeared to agree that its own decision was likely to have “undesirable or unfortunate results” …UK antitrust case against Apple
Things kicked off when two of Apple’s App Store policies were claimed to be anticompetitive.
First, Apple bans cloud gaming services in the App Store. This means that a developer cannot offer an app that provides access to multiple games played via cloud servers. It’s suggested that the company’s aim here is to protect its own share of per-game revenue, and to block competition to its own Apple Arcade subscription gaming service.
Second, while Apple allows any developer to create its own web browser, and offer it through the App Store, the Cupertino company only approves browsers that use its own WebKit rendering engine. This makes it impossible for a developer to, for example, make a browser app that is faster than Safari – and Apple also blocks access to some Safari features, like Apple Pay integration.
The UK’s competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), found last June that both policies were indeed anticompetitive.Problem 1: The meaning of the word “study”
While the CMA had said that it was investigating these issues, it had referred to its investigation as a “market study” rather than a “market investigation.’ Only something labelled as an investigation gives the legal power to impose sanctions, so no action could be taken.
To get around this problem, the CMA opened a new case into the same two issues, this time labelled as an investigation.Problem 2: The meaning of the word “shall”
However, Apple argued that the CMA had missed a deadline to open an investigation. That’s because the law states that the regulator “shall” open an investigation on the same date it published the results of the initial study. Apple said that the word “shall” means the same as “must”; the CMA argued that the word instead granted it the power to open the investigation immediately, but not the obligation.
While Apple’s interpretation seemed the most logical, there are in fact legal precedents on both sides, so the CMA appealed to The Competition Appeal Tribunal.The CMA’s appeal is rejected
We said at the time that Apple appeared to have the stronger case, and this was indeed borne out by today’s ruling – reported by Reuters.
The Competition Appeal Tribunal quashed the decision to open the investigation and on Wednesday refused the CMA’s application for permission to appeal against that ruling […]
But, in its decision refusing permission to appeal, the tribunal said that the law on when the CMA can open a market investigation is clear.
“The letter of the law matters, even if it generates undesirable or unfortunate results,” the tribunal said.
That may not be the end of it, however. The CMA is still free to take its case to The Court of Appeal, the UK equivalent of the US Supreme Court. The regulator hasn’t yet said whether or not it will do so, stating only that it is “carefully considering the tribunal’s decision and […] considering our next steps.”
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Steve Jobs died at 56: Today the world is shocked by the lost a truly technology visionary and a great human being, that has contributed so much to the world and created many things that today we all take for granted. As we all know Steve Jobs has been battling pancreatic cancer since 2004. He took his third and final leave of absence in January 2011 and resigned as CEO in August naming Tim Cook as the successor. Steve has had a profound effect on the world of technology, both at Apple and through his many other achievements. God bless.Steve Jobs’s family statement
“Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family.
In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories.
We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.”
The family also announced that a website will be erected “for those who wish to offer tributes and memories.”
“Steve Jobs 1955-2011: Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortune enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”
The company has also made available an email address, if you like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences: [email protected]Tim Cook, new Apple CEO, memo to employees
I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today.
Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email [email protected].
No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.
Tim”Bill Gates statement
Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft, was quoted by The New York Times as saying that he was “truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’s death.” He added: “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”Mark Zuckerber statement
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook said at his Facebook profile: “Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.”President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
“The world has lost a visionary,” Obama said. “And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”
The statement is a moving tribute to man behind multiple computing revolutions. The full statement from the President is included below:
“Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.
By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.
The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.”Google founders statements
Here is Sergey Brin’s statement:
“From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met.
On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much. My condolences to family, friends, and colleagues at Apple.”
Here is Larry Page’s statement:Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address Steve Jobs demos Apple Macintosh, 1984 1984 Apple’s Macintosh Commercial Steve Jobs and Microsoft at Macworld Boston 1997 The first Apple Retail Store – Introduction by Steve Jobs Apple Music Event 2001-The First Ever iPod Introduction Macworld 2007- Steve Jobs introduces iPhone Steve Jobs and Bill Gates Together iPad Launch – Steve Jobs disses the Netbook Steve Jobs last keynote: Apple iPad 2 Keynote, Special Event, March 2011 Apple Steve Jobs The Crazy Ones – NEVER BEFORE AIRED
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” –Steve Jobs.
Thank you Steve, you’ll be missed.
A Real Tablet has a Stylus
2011 may be the year of the tablet, but as a segment it’s still painfully immature. Our hands-on with ASUS’ Eee Slate EP121 last week triggered the usual arguments, dismissing the 12.1-inch tablet out of hand because of its perceived “old” technology. Admittedly, there are plenty of points where the EP121 could fall short: ASUS reckon users will see up to 8hrs runtime, which seems hopelessly ambitious for a relatively slimline slate with a Core i5 processor, and the display was frustratingly glossy. Still, the dual-mode hybrid touchscreen is its crowning glory for those who understand that there’s more to a stylus than most – Steve Jobs included – would have you believe.
While the EP121 will happily let you stab at Windows 7 with your finger – or two, since capacitive multitouch is supported – it’ll also let you whip out the included active stylus and get far more precise. Art apps are the obvious beneficiary, with the Eee Slate turned into a self-contained Wacom Cintiq, but there’s also digital handwriting recognition for a surprisingly accurate alternative to onscreen keyboards. Float the stylus nib above the screen and you can move the pointer without making a selection, for hover functionality; there’s also pressure recognition, so the harder you sketch, the thicker the line.
Unfortunately, most users have only ever come across two types of touchscreen: the resistive panels common on pre-iPhone smartphones and the capacitive screens Apple’s handset helped popularize. Active digitisers are something most people are unfamiliar with, so they associate a stylus with a dumb plastic toothpick, something that’s most likely a compromise for undersized on-screen icons. Throw in the generally underwhelming experience of resistive touchscreens on commercial devices – in markets on self-checkout machines, for instance – and you can see how it could be boiled down to a two-player battle in which capacitive technology pulls ahead.
Microsoft isn’t helping things with software, either. Devices with active digitisers – or hybrid pen/touch displays – generally run Windows, and the Microsoft OS still falls well short when it comes to tablet usability. It’s been more than eight years since Windows XP Tablet Edition launched, and while the handwriting and speech recognition engines have improved behind the scenes, visible tablet accommodation to the end-user has barely evolved.
Ironically, Microsoft has had the answer – or at least a potentially significant part of it – under their nose all the time, in the shape of OneNote and the team responsible for it. Billed as a digital notetaking app (which supports searches of handwritten notes, among other things), OneNote is actually a great example of how Windows and stylus control can work together in a way far more intuitive and flexible than putting finger to screen.
The EP121 is far from perfect, but it’s also no iPad-clone and for that ASUS deserves some credit. The stylus-savvy will recognize it for its strengths and make up their own minds whether the hybrid display and Windows 7’s naivety balance each other out. They won’t have much in the way of choice, though; look at the tablets announced at CES 2011 this month, and you’ll see the vast majority avoid the stylus like the plague, in preference to solely finger control. Unfortunately, until the tablet segment matures enough to countenance anything other than another would-be “iPad killer”, the stylus will continue to get its unfair reputation.
The smell is what first grabs you. After receiving several Nodus items since their inception in 2013, it is the smell, every time, that first catches my senses. Maybe, it is the long trip across the pond from the UK that lets the leather scent build up in the box. Cracking open the package on any Nodus Collection item springs forth the best premium leather smell you will find on an iPhone case.
Certainly, there are many other things that make the Nodus line exceptional, but you can tell the attention to detail by smelling the quality of leather. It is something that should not be overlooked, when investing in a nice case.
Having attended CES for the last three years and milling over case after case, this is truly something incredible. It is leaps and bounds above Apple’s similar leather cases. Step inside for your next iPhone case purchase and a great Black Friday special discount.Nodus Shell Case
If you are a regular iDB reader, you will know that I recently fell off the review wagon. It has been many months since I willingly took a product to analyze, but when Nodus reached out, there was no question I would come out of my short retirement to consider their product.
The Nodus Shell Case is the newest addition to the line up. At its basic level, the Nodus Shell Case is a standard clip-on shell that you can find anywhere. You can find a shell case on Amazon for mere dollars. With six-sided protection, you can even lay the device face down and the front side rails will prevent any screen contact with the surface, just like most cases. And that’s where the comparison ends.
It is in the details, where the Nodus shell completely separates itself from the competition. The smell I so affectionately appreciate, comes thanks to imported full grain vegetable tanned Italian leather and microfiber interior. With premium quality leather, the case is soft, yet sturdy. I wouldn’t call their leather supple, but is a pleasure to hold and will break-in during continued usage.
Boasting a polycarbonate core, which is hand wrapped in the Italian leather exterior, it more than covers the protruding iPhone 6 camera and then some, leading me to believe it could absorb a fall. However, it does make the mute switch a bit difficult to operate. The volume and power buttons are covered, but easy to feel and operate thanks to debossed outlines around the hardware button locations. Bottom ports are easily accessible and open, but if you have a thick 3.5mm headphone plug, you may have a little struggle.
One of the biggest line updates is the Nodus Micro Dock, which is a square CNC milled magnetic puck, which is only 20 x 20 x 6mm. It is small and not unattractive with an anodized and high polish finish. The Micro Dock is included and compatible with the Nodus Shell and Access cases. Using a 3M adhesive pad, it can be located on most any surface. Importantly, it makes a very strong connection with both cases and offers more versatility.
The only complaint about the case, is dust collection in the camera port opening. Importantly, this is an issue with every case on the market. If there is an edge that will collect lent and you toss it in your pants pocket, you are sure to find dust collecting in the openings.
This is the first case I placed on my new iPhone 6s. I don’t particularly enjoy using cases because they can take away from the high quality feeling of an Apple device. However, the Nodus Shell Case has not left my device since I received it. It feels great and I highly recommend it.Nodus Access
I was first exposed to the Nodus Access line last year, when I reviewed the iPhone and iPad version of the case. I encourage you to read my full review, but the short version: I was extremely impressed. This continues with the popular line update.
The Nodus Access case is another Italian leather design for iPhone and iPad. A fold over portfolio style case that includes a single inside slip for money or a couple credit cards. The phone does not sit in a harness. Instead a very strong micro-suction pad clings to the iPhone back. Consequently, you can set and remove your device at will. I highly prefer this style because it gets rid of bulky clip in alternatives, but does not use a semi-permanent adhesive. If, say, a 3M strip was used, the iPhone could not be removed and replaced as wanted.
Like the new Shell Case, Access now includes the same magnetic docking option. The case comes with a single Micro Dock, to place as desired, around the home, office, or vehicle. This simply gives the already excellent case a bit more versatility in your daily routine. If you are looking for a premium leather case, that covers your screen with a quick pocket for small items, this is your case.
The Access Case does not intend or try to be a full wallet case. It is minimalist in design, form, and function. If you are looking for a catch-all case for every card in your wallet, plus cash, and a picture of the kids, there are plenty of less impressive solutions waiting for you on Amazon.Conclusion
In conclusion, I really love both of these cases for different reasons. I prefer the Shell Case for its simplicity. I prefer the Access Case because of its elegance, professional look, and a quick place to stash my cards. Yes, this entire article is a gushing review of the Nodus Collection. However, I would remind readers, this is not a sponsored post. With little free time, I only take reviews for products I am predetermined to love and this is a great example.Black Friday Special
Nodus is offering both a Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal and they are good from Friday through Monday! Using code “BLACK25” or “CYBER25” at checkout, will award you a 25% discount on list prices.
Nodus Shell Case comes in Chestnut Brown, Ebony Black or Yellow for iPhone 6/Plus for £49.99 retail ($75).
Nodus Access Case portfolio comes in with Chestnut Brown, Ebony Black or Yellow for iPhone 5 or 6/Plus for £34.99 retail ($52). It is also available for iPad Air £99.99 ($150) or Mini £89.99 ($135) retail, in the same colors.
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