Is that Bill Hinman clearing ETH as a security? SEC refuses to confirm or deny identity in 2018 speech video

  • Ripple filed a motion to compel the SEC to admit or deny Hinman’s identity in a video showing his 2018 speech.
  • The regulator, however, says it cannot admit or deny the request.

The famous Hinman speech regarding the regulation of cryptocurrencies has once again come to play in the ongoing Ripple v. SEC lawsuit.

Recall that Hinman, while at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), served as the director of its Division of Corporation Finance. He left the agency in December 2020, just a few weeks before the declaration of the case against Ripple.

Thereafter, a huge fracas evolved over his speech at the Fintech Week Conference in 2018. The video depicts Hinman, while still serving at the SEC, saying Ethereum (ETH) sales did not comprise “securities transactions.” Ripple has used the speech as evidence to help its case, implying the similarity in ETH and XRP tokens.

SEC V. Ripple case: Regulator cannot confirm if Hinman is in the video

In another attempt to utilize the speech, Ripple on Wednesday submitted a motion to compel Requests for Admission (RFAs). Essentially, the motion was meant to make the SEC admit or deny Bill Hinman’s identity in the video.

However, the regulator asserted that it can neither confirm, nor deny whether the man in question is Hinman:

Subject to all of the foregoing objections, and after reasonable inquiry, the information is known and currently available is not sufficient to enable the Commission to admit or deny this request.

Other than clearly and audibly depicting Hinman, the video also seems quite authentic and undeniable. Chris Brummer, a YouTuber and Georgetown law professor posted the video. His account dates back to 2016 and is accompanied by his name, picture, and links to other professionally affiliated websites.

But even then, the SEC refuses to challenge the video’s authenticity, let alone give up any helpful information concerning it.

Hinman a make or break in the ongoing lawsuit

The Ripple v SEC case history points to multiple times when the SEC tried to stall matters, Hinman. Previously, the watchdog claimed that Hinman’s statement was nothing more than personal opinion, and not a representation of the SEC’s views. The regulator also sought to conceal certain Hinman-related documents. When the court turned down this request, the regulator went on to claim attorney-client privilege regarding Hinman’s speech. Ripple in turn claims that the SEC is only stalling “where there is no real dispute.”

Other than the speech, Hinman is a central point in the case for an alleged conflict of interest. Corruption whistleblower Empower Oversight claimed it could prove Hinman had “direct financial interest” in an Ethereum-related firm. This puts the regulator in the spotlight for alleged corrupt intent. Twitter user @Leerzeit even went as far as questioning if the SEC is asking for a $2.1B+ budget to propagate such actions.

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