Former SEC Director who led Ripple action lands new role at Ethereum law firm
Ex-Acting Director of the Division of Enforcement, will join Simpson Thacher, a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, later this year. This leads some to ask whether a conflict of interest took place in the SEC granting Ethereum's non-securities status.
According to news outlet Bloomberg, Marc Berger, who stepped down from his role at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January, will join New York-based Simpson Thacher in June. Berger was instrumental in bringing legal action against Ripple on allegations of selling an unregistered security in the XRP token.
A key point throughout the hearing process has been the SEC’s nod of approval towards both Bitcoin and Ethereum, which they deem as not securities. Questions are now being asked following Berger’s appointment at a member firm of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.
Nagging doubts over the legitimacy of Ripple lawsuit heighten
Initial community reactions to the SEC lawsuit against Ripple were shock and disbelief. The fallout saw partners bailing, exchange delistings, and the XRP price dropping like a stone. Given the SEC’s track record of successful prosecutions, things looked bleak.
But over time, as the Ripple defense team has gone about their business, the case against Ripple seems to be unraveling. Several “mini victories” have gone Ripple’s way, including Judge Torres granting the motion for XRP holders to intervene.
An important nuance to this case is the equivalency of XRP to Bitcoin and Ethereum. In June 2018, former SEC Director William Hinman ruled that Bitcoin and Ethereum are not securities. However, the Ripple legal team wishes to probe on what basis XRP is being singled out compared to the other two.
Considering Berger’s appointment at Simpson Thacher and that firm’s Ethereum connection, questions on the validity of the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple are being asked.
CryptoLaw also points out Hinman receives a $1.6mn/yr pension from Simpson Thacher. Businessinsider.com reported this story.
Simpson Thacher sits on the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, took the biggest Chinese mining equipment company public, and paid William Hinman $1.6M/yr while he was SEC Dir of Corp Finance announcing that #ETH was not a security. (3/4)https://t.co/5dun4ZJLzZ
— CryptoLaw (@CryptoLawUS) April 15, 2021
Selling unregistered securities is a non-crime
The founder of ShapeShift, Erik Voorhees, recently spoke about when the SEC came after him on the charge of selling unregistered securities.
This dates back to 2012, when Voorhees sold shares in his SatoshiDICE website. He said if the SEC were doing its job, it would focus on bringing retribution to victims of financial fraud.
Speaking about what happened to him, Voorhees said the SatoshiDICE investors made many multiples on their money. Meaning, in his case, there were no victims. But that didn’t stop the SEC from bringing legal action. He eventually opted to pay the $50k settlement they were asking. Voorhees also had to cover his legal costs.
“[Investors] made multiples on their money within ten months. But the SEC was p*ssed off because I didn’t get their permission to this. I didn’t register it with the SEC. So they came after me for selling unregistered securities, which is, of course, a total garbage, non-crime.”
Ripple and XRP holders have suffered greatly at the hands of the SEC. Considering XRP holders claim not to be victims, plus the dubious post-SEC goings-on with key personnel, should the SEC be the one on trial?