XRP price settles above $0.50, wiping out gains from Hinman documents release

  • XRP price pulled back on Wednesday, trading at $0.5032 on Binance, as the boost from the public release of Hinman emails faded.
  • SEC’s Former Director of Corporation Finance didn’t consider Ethereum a security, according to the contents of the email. 
  • Experts say the Hinman documents strengthen Ripple’s defense against the US financial regulator.

The release of the Hinman documents, a key element of Ripple’s defense against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), led to a temporary bounce in XRP price but the initial euphoria faded on Wednesday even as many experts consider that the documents could help the payment giant in its lawsuit with the US financial regulator.

The contents of the documents published Tuesday reveal that in 2018 the regulator did not consider “token lockups” as indicative of securities. This is relevant and useful for other crypto assets defending themselves against SEC’s labeling of their tokens as “securities.”

Email exchanges between William Hinman and SEC officials reveal that the former Director of Corporation Finance did not consider Ether a security, and this was more than a “personal opinion” as other executives at the SEC have exchanged communication related to the matter.

The outcome of the case has a direct impact on XRP price and could have implications for the overall cryptocurrency community, so the altcoin’s holders are closely following the updates about the legal battle. 

XRP price declined to $0.5032 on Binance at the time of writing. The altcoin wiped out gains from Tuesday and retraced to price levels seen on June 5, the week when the SEC initiated a crackdown on Binance, Coinbase and over five dozen cryptocurrencies.

Also read: Top 3 cryptocurrencies that outperformed Bitcoin, Ethereum this week: Terra LUNC, XRP and Lido DAO

Brad Garlinghouse slams the SEC for its regulation by enforcement

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse criticized the US financial regulator in a tweet on Tuesday, citing the SEC’s approach to “regulation by enforcement” and lack of clarity on crypto regulation. 

Garlinghouse refers to the contents of Hinman’s emails, included in the released documents where the executive compiled a “made-up” test to determine whether an asset is “sufficiently decentralized,” all to prove that Ethereum is not a security. 

The Ripple CEO slammed the regulator’s actions and claimed that it “threw an entire industry into chaos.”

SEC vs. Ripple lawsuit likely outcome

Ripple fought the SEC’s allegations of $1.3 billion unregistered securities sale for over two years before successfully getting Hinman documents unsealed. The contents of the key evidence, like internal messages between executives and their email communication, suggests that the SEC was never clear on how to regulate any cryptocurrency created after Bitcoin.

Ripple is arguing that XRPLedger’s native token XRP is not a security and Hinman’s comments are not particularly useful to the case. Therefore, instead of building up on Hinman’s “made-up test” to determine sufficient decentralization, Ripple is arguing that the former SEC Director’s theory was not grounded in a proper understanding of the securities law.

Still, the possibility of a settlement isn’t considered by Ripple’s top executive, according to a response in a recent tweet: 

Garlinghouse has explained previously that Ripple is open to a settlement only if XRP is considered a non-security. Meanwhile, the SEC’s stance on a settlement is unclear and the community is now awaiting a ruling in the lawsuit.

XRP price wipes gains post Hinman document release

XRP price shed its gains, declining 11.22% from Tuesday’s peak of $0.5649 on Binance.

At the time of writing, XRP is exchanging hands at $0.5055. XRP holders brace for further volatility as relevant documents shed light on the SEC’s stance on Ethereum as a security, Hinman’s alleged collusion with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and the SEC’s lack of clarity on crypto asset regulation and their treatment as “securities” or “non-securities.” Checkout the released documents here.

Defense attorney James K. Filan shared the Hinman emails (Document 1 and 2) in his recent tweet:

The Hinman documents refer to internal communication within the SEC regarding a 2018 speech given by Former Director of the Corporation Finance division, William Hinman. The contents of these documents elaborate on the SEC’s stance on cryptocurrencies like Ethereum.

The SEC sued Ripple in 2020, alleging that the firm sold unregistered securities. The documents published Tuesday reveal that the SEC considers “token lockup” and subsequent releases as a sign of a non-security, suggesting that XRP’s scheduled token unlocks by Ripple shouldn't be considered as a security.

[the speech] suggests that we do not need to see a need to regulate Ether, as it is currently offered, as a security – former SEC's director of the Division of Corporation Finance William Hinman.

Bill Morgan, an XRP enthusiast and attorney, shared the unredacted parts of previous filings in a recent tweet and elaborated on the SEC’s shifting stance on treatment of crypto assets. 

Stuart Alderoty, the Chief Legal Officer of Ripple, explained that the 2018 speech of the former SEC Director of Corporation Finance was divorced from the Howey factors and exposed regulatory gaps. The documents are not supportive of the SEC’s allegations against Ripple and create “greater confusion” instead of providing clarity, he said. 

Hinman speech was considered regulatory guidance by the SEC in 2018

According to Alderoty, in his 2018 speech Hinman said that a crypto token previously considered a security changes to a non-security once it is sufficiently decentralised. Hinman invented a list of factors to consider when making a decision whether a token is "sufficiently decentralised."

Since then, the former director has claimed that the speech was only reflecting his personal views, but back in 2018 the SEC considered it as guidance.

Still, the release of the previously sealed documents has raised more questions than it answers. The XRP-holder community is awaiting a ruling from Judge Torres on the SEC vs. Ripple lawsuit, in light of the contents of the Hinman emails and the regulator’s lack of guidance for the payment giant.

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