Crypto in Court – What Does 2023 Have in Store?

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There are several high profile court cases awaiting our attention in 2023, from Craig Wright clogging up the legal system with his libel nonsense to Do Kwon and Sam Bankman-Fried tasting ten types of justice.

But what are the cases to watch in 2023? Get your gavel ready and let’s find out.

SEC vs Ripple To Conclude

The battle over whether Ripple’s XRP tokens are securities or not has been going since late 2020, with Ripple scoring some big hits along the way. The SEC seemed to have realised that the ground underneath it was getting shakier and shakier as the case wore on this year, resulting in it negotiating a deal with Ripple in September – both camps asked the judge to come up with a settlement.

However, the complexity of the case meant that a settlement figure was not expected from the judge until 2023, which is now all but a certainty. Even when this case is resolved, there’s still a massive class action lawsuit by XRP holders against the SEC to make its entrance into the court system.

Do Kwon vs Many People

The man responsible for building the $60 billion Terra/LUNA ecosystem on an algorithm that couldn’t cope with market volatility will face justice from both the Singapore authorities as well as a glut of pissed off investors next year, both institutional and retail. As well as this, Kwon also faces a battle against the SEC over whether a prior project, Mirror Protocol, was a security.

Obviously, not all of these cases will be decided next year, but we will get a very clear idea of how Kwon intends to fight them (or not), as well as what his chances are – if they can get him out of Serbia.

Craig Wright vs Crypto

Craig Wright had a busy 2022, demolishing what was left of his reputation and incurring huge losses across two court cases, but he’s not finished yet. In 2023 Wright will face Hodlonaut in the UK having lost the Norway case, while he has also promised to start taking on multiple blockchains he has accused of infringing his patents, including Ethereum.

Add to this the £9.9 billion class action lawsuit that BSV has levied against four exchanges for colluding to delist BSV in 2019 as well as passing-off cases against Kraken and Coinbase, and you can see that 2023 will be something of a make or break year for the fraudster. Then there is the case against the cabal of developers following the alleged pineapple hack of 2020, a case Wright lost this year but appealed in December, an appeal that is due to be ruled on next year.

He will also spend the year preparing for his huge case against COPA in 2024, the one that, should he lose, may see him barred from referring to himself as Satoshi Nakamoto.

U.S. vs Razzlekhan/Lichtenstein

If you don’t recognize the name, think back to the February arrest of Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein, the pair accused of receiving almost 120,000 stolen from Bitfinex in 2016. Razzlekhan was Morgan’s ‘rap’ alter ego, although her efforts on this front would suggest this term be used loosely, and she used this persona to parade her wealth, which she said he had earned from her own startup, an email marketing company.

In fact, Morgan and Lichtenstein were the recipients of the Bitfinex bitcoin and, according to investigators, were conspiring to launder it. Over 94,000 was recovered from the pair’s New York home with 25,000 unaccounted for, meaning that Morgan and Lichtenstein had certainly enjoyed some of the fruits of their endeavours.

Lichtenstein remains in prison awaiting trial, while Morgan has been allowed to work, given her cooperation with law enforcement, pursuant to a probable deal in 2023.

Sam Bankman-Fried vs The World

When FTX collapsed so spectacularly in November, it was inevitable that lawsuits would follow. It didn’t take long, with first one then two class actions coming his way less than two weeks after FTX filed for bankruptcy. Bankman-Fried now has seven class action lawsuits against his name to date, and even his personal investment vehicle, Emergent Fidelity Technologies, even has one to contest.

This is the least of Bankman-Fried’s worries however, as he is currently facing extradition to the U.S. from the Bahamas over multiple charges from the Southern District of New York and the SEC over his handling (or lack of it) of FTX. 2023 promises to be a lucrative one for Bankman-Fried’s lawyers if no one else.