In a significant win for Ripple Labs, a federal judge has dealt a blow to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by denying their motion to seal documents pertaining to a pivotal speech given by former SEC Director William Hinman in 2018.
The Contentious Speech
During his speech, Hinman stated that both bitcoin and ether should not be considered securities. This declaration has since become a focal point in the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple. The SEC alleges that Ripple violated securities regulations by selling XRP tokens without proper registration.
Denial of Motion
The SEC contended that the documents linked to Hinman’s speech were privileged and should remain confidential. However, Judge Analisa Torres of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled against the SEC, stating that the documents were neither deliberative nor contained privileged information.
According to Torres, “The Hinman Speech Documents are not protected by the deliberative process privilege because they do not relate to an agency position, decision, or policy. They are instead documents that were created after the decision had been made and were intended to be made public.”
Ripple’s Victory and Implications
This ruling is a significant triumph for Ripple as it enables the company to access the documents in question, potentially bolstering its defense against the SEC’s lawsuit. Conversely, it marks a setback for the SEC, which has faced criticism for its handling of the case.
Following the ruling, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse expressed his joy on Twitter, hailing it as “another win for transparency.” Garlinghouse further announced that the unredacted Hinman emails would soon be made publicly available.
The SEC’s Next Move
Although the denial of the motion is a blow to the SEC, the agency has not yet confirmed whether it plans to appeal the ruling. The case remains ongoing, and a definitive decision has not been reached. Nonetheless, this outcome constitutes a resounding victory for Ripple, one that could potentially shape the landscape of cryptocurrency regulation in the future.