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LBRY Inc: Closing Shop After Losing Case Against SEC

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LBRY Inc – the firm that’s responsible for developing the LBRY Protocol – announced that it will be closing shop. This comes after it received a final judgment in the case against the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this week.

The Case Against LBRY Inc

Earlier this week, LBRY Inc confirmed that it will be winding down its operations after it lost the case against the Securities and Exchange Commission. The court ruled that the company violated Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 in its issuance of the platform’s native cryptocurrency. Some lawyers, however, believe that the firm’s legal counsel missed an opportunity.

Comment from a Lawyer

Commenting on the matter was Bill Hughes, a lawyer at Consensus, who said:

Oooof LBRY might be thinking it missed a real important argument. Don’t be too rough with your counsel for missing this opportunity. It’s fashionable now but wasn’t so at the time. Plus, not having the time and space to give the issue the proper treatment might have turned out real bad for everyone with the judge finding the other way (which seems like a real possibility given the other merit findings.)

The comment refers to a note from the Judge presiding over the case between LBRY and the SEC, which said:

LBRY also made a cursory argument – presented for the first time in its supplemental brief in support of the motion to limit remedies – that the ‘major question doctrine’ forecloses the SEC’s efforts to regulate digital assets. […] This eleventh-hour argument has been forfeited. […] Indeed, an argument challenging SEC’s authority to bring this enforcement action should have been raised earlier in the case, especially since the cited Supreme Court case was decided before I held oral argument on the cross-motions for summary judgment.

Parallel with Ripple’s Case

Another lawyer – Bill Morgan – brought the question to Twitter, asking why can’t Ripple raise the Major Questions Doctrine (MQD) before Judge Analisa Torres (the Judge in the case between the SEC and Ripple) makes her decision.

Opposing any applicability of the MQD to SEC enforcement actions was Marc Fagel – a former SEC veteran, who said:

They are not promulgating rules beyond their authority, they are charging violations of existing law, and the court can determine whether or not the law was violated.

Well-known XRP holders’ attorney John Deaton also took part in the discussion, arguing that there’s ‘no existing law in determining the secondary sales of an asset previously utilized in an investment contract, transaction, or scheme, also constitutes an investment contract.’ He said that this makes it at least arguably that the MQD does apply to secondary market asset sales such as those on Coinbase.

Fagel maintained his position:

And I disagree. The SEC plainly has the authority to enforce the securities laws; if it can’t prove the law was broken, then it loses the case. The MQD is irrelevant and inapplicable.

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