Ripple legal chief urges investigation into ex-SEC official over Ethereum speech controversy
Ripple CLO argued that the investigation would provide clarity about Hinman motivations for the speech.
Ripple (XRP) chief legal officer Stuart Alderoty suggested that former SEC Director William Hinman should be investigated for his infamous 2018 speech that gave Ethereum (ETH) a free pass over other digital assets in the industry, according to an Aug. 7 tweet.
Alderoty, in response to statements made by former SEC official John Reed Stark concerning Hinman’s conduct with the financial regulator, emphasized the importance of an inquiry to clear the air on Hinman’s underlying intentions behind the now infamous speech. He said:
“This is broader than Ripple – there could potentially be serious conflicts of interest by a gov official.”
According to a screenshot shared by Alderoty, Stark urged law enforcement agencies to investigate if Hinman had acted unethically and unlawfully with his conduct before giving the 2018 speech.
Crypto lawyer John Deaton also shared this view, saying Hinman deserved to be investigated because there “was a gross appearance of impropriety (which technically violates 18 USC 208).”
The Hinman speech
In 2018, former SEC Director Hinman gave a speech where he said a cryptocurrency might no longer be classed as a security if its network becomes sufficiently decentralized, citing examples of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum as assets that meet this classification.
Recently released documents from Empower Oversight, a watchdog group, showed that Ethereum co-founders Joseph Lubin, his company Consensys, and Vitalik Buterin played a central role in the infamous speech.
Empower added that the SEC’s Ethics office repeatedly warned Hinman about meeting his former employer, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, while he was still a director at the SEC.
Ripple’s community suggested that Hinman accepted bribes from firms with a financial interest in ETH to have declared it as a non-security. The rumors were further fueled by the SEC’s initial reluctance to release the internal documents related to the 2018 speech. However, these allegations remain largely unproven.