Forbes senior contributor Roslyn Layton and her attorney J. Carl Cecere have filed a motion to request the release of the Hinman files to the public. These documents contain internal deliberations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about a 2018 speech by former SEC official William Hinman.
In the speech, Hinman stated that Bitcoin and Ethereum are not securities, which contradicts the SEC’s allegations in its lawsuit against Ripple. The SEC had tried to keep the documents out of the courtroom, but the judge ordered that they be turned over. However, the SEC later filed a motion in December to keep some of the contents sealed from public view.
Layton, a regulatory policy columnist, argues in the motion that the public and press should have access to the documents under the First Amendment and federal common law. She emphasizes that this case has garnered significant public and media attention and could have far-reaching implications for the future of cryptocurrencies in the United States. She also asserts that she has no financial stake in Ripple or XRP, the token that the SEC sued Ripple over.
The case has important implications not only for Ripple, its executives, and the thousands of XRP holders who have suffered losses through the SEC’s efforts to protect them, but also for the entire cryptocurrency industry. The case could serve as a legal referendum on the SEC’s approach to regulation by enforcement for the industry. In this context, the case for the public release of the documents is particularly strong