The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been investigating the legality of cryptocurrencies for years, and recently, emails have surfaced that reveal additional officials involved in discussions about the security of Ethereum (ETH). The emails were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Coindesk, a leading cryptocurrency news outlet.
The emails show that the SEC was not only discussing the security of ETH with William Hinman, the former director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, but also with other officials within the agency. The discussions took place in 2018, when Hinman made a speech in which he stated that ETH was not a security.
The emails reveal that Hinman was not the only official involved in the discussions about ETH. Other officials included Valerie Szczepanik, the SEC’s Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation, and Jay Clayton, the former chairman of the SEC.
The emails also show that the SEC was concerned about the potential for ETH to be classified as a security. In one email, an SEC official wrote that “there is a strong case for treating ETH as a security.” The official went on to say that “ETH is not like Bitcoin, which has no central authority or control.”
The emails provide insight into the SEC’s thinking about cryptocurrencies and their potential classification as securities. The agency has been grappling with this issue for years, and the emails show that there is still much debate within the agency about how to classify cryptocurrencies.
The SEC has not yet made a final determination about whether ETH is a security. However, the agency has taken action against other cryptocurrencies that it believes are securities. For example, in 2019, the SEC settled with Telegram over its initial coin offering (ICO), which the agency deemed to be an unregistered securities offering.
The SEC’s actions have had a significant impact on the cryptocurrency industry. Many companies have been hesitant to launch ICOs or other cryptocurrency offerings due to the regulatory uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrencies.
The emails obtained by Coindesk shed light on the SEC’s thinking about cryptocurrencies and their potential classification as securities. While the agency has not yet made a final determination about ETH, the emails show that there is still much debate within the agency about how to classify cryptocurrencies. As the cryptocurrency industry continues to grow and evolve, it will be interesting to see how the SEC responds to these developments.
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