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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Crypto company Ripple announced on Monday that it's expecting a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over its sale of XRP, the cryptocurrency it created.

Why it matters: If filed, it would be the highest-profile lawsuit of its kind. The SEC has sued a number of cryptocurrency companies in recent years over what it has deemed illegal sales of securities.

The big picture: Whether digital tokens — like XRP — are securities has been the central question regulators and the industry have been wrestling with in recent years.

  • SEC officials have declared Bitcoin and Ether to be currencies, as they are decentralized in their management, but have left the door open for others to qualify as securities, especially at the time of their issuance.
  • Yes, but: XRP is in a different situation. While it's widely traded, its originator, Ripple, is still very much involved and owns a significant portion of the currency (though it's held in reserves to be sold over time, which the company says it doesn't have control over).
  • XRP is currently the third most valuable cryptocurrency, with a market cap of about $22 billion.

What they're saying: "Make no mistake, we are ready to fight and win - this battle is just beginning," Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tweeted with regards to the announcement, which was first reported by Fortune.

The bottom line: The potential lawsuit could have a significant impact in shaping the regulatory environment for digital tokens.

Go deeper

Coinbase settles on direct listing to go public

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Coinbase, the cryptocurrency trading company, said Thursday that its public debut will be a direct listing instead of a traditional IPO.

Why it matters: Coinbase's public listing has been hotly anticipated as a potential tipping point for the cryptocurrency industry to go mainstream. The direct listing route — which allows existing shareholders to sell their stock into the market while the company doesn't raise new funds — has been slowly gaining more traction with Palantir and Asana as the latest to go that direction.

Updated 9 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

🚨: Japan's Naomi Osaka lights Olympic cauldron; Photos

👻: How the no-spectator Olympics could affect the athletes

🇺🇸: "What an honor it is to watch you soar," first lady tells U.S. Olympians

🌏: Meet the underdogs from Latin America

🥇: The six new sports at Tokyo 2020

💉 About 100 U.S. Olympic athletes are unvaccinated

✍️ Axios at the Olympics: What it's like inside the opening ceremony

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Senate Democrats demand answers on FBI's Kavanaugh probe

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats are demanding that the FBI hand over "all records and communications" related to the FBI tip line set up to investigate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a nominee in 2018.

Why it matters: The ask comes after the FBI revealed it received more than 4,500 tips about Kavanaugh when he was awaiting Senate confirmation amid sexual assault allegations. Only the most "relevant" of these tips were forwarded to the Trump White House.