A lawsuit between two of the biggest blockchain companies has been thrown into doubt after a Delaware court ruled it did not have jurisdiction over the $1bn case.
R3, a New York-based software developer, filed a complaint last month alleging that the chief executive of its California-based rival Ripple had tried to terminate the options granted to R3 last year after they surged in value because of a rise in Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency.
R3 said it had been granted an option to purchase 5bn XRP at an exercise price of 0.85 cents in September 2016. At the time, XRP was worth less than the option price. But since then, as the price of many cryptocurrencies has shot up, XRP has surged above 26 cents, valuing the options at more than $1bn.
Ripple responded by filing a counter-suit a few hours later against R3, accusing it of “misleading Ripple to enter into multiple contracts, and then breaching those contracts after they were signed”.
On Friday, Charley Cooper, managing director of R3, told the Financial Times: “This was merely a procedural ruling in Delaware, which did not rule on the merits of the case, and R3’s lawsuit against Ripple remains ongoing in New York.”
However, Ripple’s chief executive Brad Garlinghouse told the FT that he expected the case to move to California, where his company filed a counter-suit against R3. “We have not been served with any court case in New York by R3,” Mr Garlinghouse said.
The dispute underlines how the rapidly rising value of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, has raised the stakes in the race to become the leading player in the nascent blockchain industry.