There has been a new motion with the potential to have a significant impact, even though all of the documents in the legal dispute between Ripple Labs and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have already been filed and all eyes are now on the judge’s ruling. Dr. Roslyn Layton, a journalist for Forbes, has submitted a motion to intervene and asks the court for access to the Hinman speech records.
J. Carl Cecere, an attorney, is defending the journalist in an effort to overturn the SEC’s December 22 motion to seal some of the Hinman speech documents.
According to the motion, Dr. Layton, a regulatory policy columnist, visiting researcher at Aalborg University, and executive vice president of Strand Consulting has no financial stake in Ripple or XRP and has no stake in the dispute.
On Forbes, she has published a number of articles about the Hinman speech documents. According to the letter, she has examined the crucial role the Hinman documents play for the cryptocurrency industry in those articles, which support the petition.
Support for Ripple’s Battle for the Hinman Docs
According to Layton and her lawyer, the press has a fundamental right to access these court records under both the First Amendment and federal common law. The SEC has acknowledged the importance of the documents, which is one specific argument in favor of their release.
Layton claims that the entire cryptocurrency industry is at risk, not just Ripple, its executives, and the thousands of XRP holders:
As a legal test of the SEC’s entire “regulation by enforcement” strategy for the sector, this case also has the potential to determine the future of cryptocurrencies in this country.
The senior contributor to Forbes claims that because the SEC has not provided explicit regulatory guidance, the Hinman documents have become extremely important for public scrutiny. And the supposed advice Hinman provided in that speech has turned out to be ambiguous.
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Ethereum (ETH) has been declared to be outside of the SEC’s purview, whereas Ripple is subject to a $1 billion fine. Because Hinman had a financial stake in promoting Ethereum over rival coins like XRP, this inconsistency has raised serious questions about potential conflicts of interest.
The letter from the Ripple supporter claims that documents from Hinman’s speech will show whether Ethereum supporters within the SEC improperly shaped Hinman’s message or whether insiders at the agency believed that the speech’s guidance was unclear or deviated too much from predetermined expectations.
And such access is crucial in assisting the public in determining whether the SEC’s entire “regulation by enforcement” approach to cryptocurrencies makes sense, whether its pursuit of Ripple is a proper use of tax dollars from the general public, and whether the boundaries the SEC has drawn actually work, according to Layton.
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Unusually, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse made the following remarks about the speech’s supporting documents in Davos:
When those are revealed, I believe you’ll understand more why the SEC might have chosen to file a case against Ripple, given what they were saying inside their own walls.
It is unclear when Judge Torres will make a decision on the motion. As of the time of writing, XRP was trading at $0.4019, up 5.3% over the previous day in line with the bullish trend in the cryptocurrency market.