Ripple has the bull by the horns with this latest development in the long-standing legal battle between the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and technology company Ripple.
After 2.5 years of a drawn-out legal fight, and while everyone is anticipating a final decision, District Judge Analisa Torres has delivered some much-anticipated news, eagerly welcomed by the XRP Community.
The judge finally delivered a ruling regarding the Summary Judgement Materials. The SEC stated in its filing to “seal certain portions of the party’s filings,” citing this was to “preserve higher values.” It remains to be seen what the documents in question contain in their entirety, but it is well-understood that the Hinman emails are part of the documents the SEC does not want to be seen by the public.
Ripple Labs used some of these documents to support its motion for summary judgment; however, on December 22, 2022, the SEC filed a motion to seal them.
The documents in question are related to William Hinman, a former SEC director, and a well-reported lecture he gave in 2018. Hinman said in that speech that Ethereum, like Bitcoin, was “sufficiently decentralized” and was therefore exempt from federal securities legislation.
Hinman’s remarks from that day have emerged as an essential topic in the continuing discussion over crypto legislation. There has been a long debate over whether Hinman gave his personal views in the speech and to what extent SEC lawyers gave their opinion and helped him draft it.
The emails are essential to whether XRP is a security or not because of precedent and regulatory clarity and inconsistency in the SEC’s approach.
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tweeted shortly after the ruling: “Another win for transparency! Unredacted Hinman emails to be publicly available soon – stay tuned as the lawyers work through the mechanics to make that happen.”
What significance this now has for the case SEC vs. Ripple remains to be seen. Ripple would already know the relevance of these documents, and Brad Garlinghouse had tweeted after the company had received them that they were a game changer.
It may be assumed that Judge Torres deems the Hinman documents relevant for the case and her ruling. She now may use the documents in her decision and her reasoning. The only way the SEC can still avoid the publication and potential embarrassment is by settling with Ripple. CEO Garlinghouse had previously mentioned that Ripple is ready for settlement at any time as long as the SEC agrees that sales of XRP in secondary markets are not securities.
It should be noted that the Judge only denied sealing as far as the Hinman Speech Documents go; the remainder of the SEC’s request was granted. Also rejected was Ripple’s motion to seal references to Ripple’s revenue concerning XRP sales.
Roslyn Layton’s motion to intervene was denied as moot, which means the court no longer regards the journalist’s involvement as relevant. Layton and her attorney had requested Judge Analisa Torres to release the Hinman files, indicating a desire to disclose the contents of these documents to the public.