Ripple Gains Clear Advantage in SEC Lawsuit

Judge Torres’ decision for the SEC to turn up records from a 2018 speech by William Hinman, who was then the director of the SEC’s Corporate Finance Division, is a significant victory for Ripple Labs.

This decision follows a protracted legal dispute that might determine the future of several cryptocurrencies.

The SEC asked for clarification and a reversal of Judge Sarah Netburn’s earlier court decision that emails and drafts pertaining to a 2018 speech by the former Director were not covered by the due process privilege.

Due Process Privilege is a concept that refers to private conversations that result in the public declaration of governmental or policy decisions. Judge Netburn allowed the SEC’s move for clarification while rejecting the reconsideration request.

After the SEC reiterated its DPP claim, Judge Netburn ruled that the pertinent records must now be produced. The three orders were then the subject of objections by the SEC, which Judge Analisa Torres has recently rejected.

The SEC must now provide materials related to Hinman’s remarks.

Hinman argued that the Ethereum network, cryptocurrencies, and transactions do not constitute securities-related activity when speaking at a symposium in June 2018.

The current offers and sells of Ether are not securities transactions, in my opinion, given the current nature of the cryptocurrency, the Ethereum network, and its decentralized structure.

The controversy surrounding Hinman’s remarks is more directly related to an SEC complaint brought in December 2020 against Ripple Labs, its former CEO Chris Larsen, and its current CEO Brad Garlinghouse. The three defendants are accused by the SEC of making unauthorized gains from the sale of XRP coins as unregistered securities.


The judge supports earlier court decisions.

Ripple claimed that the 2018 speech records were relevant to the case because “they may be utilized to collect prospective impeachment evidence or to impeach witnesses at trial,” including Hinman. Judge Torres took Ripple’s claim under consideration.

He overturned the SEC’s initial objection without being persuaded that Judge Netburn erred in finding the materials relevant to the case.

Judge Netburn rejected the SEC’s claim of DPprotection by concluding that Hinman’s speech materials on the subject of cryptocurrencies’ classification as securities were his own and not those of the SEC, hence they were not covered by DPP. The SEC’s challenges against this decision have been dismissed by Judge Torres.

Thirdly, Judge Torres found nothing wrong with Judge Netburn’s conclusion that the documents’ substance did not constitute legal counsel meant to “guide future action” or “evaluate prior conduct.”


One step closer to more precise industry standards.

The court grants Ripple and its two executives a significant victory that may move them closer to winning the almost two-year-old legal battle by directing the SEC to turn over Hinman’s materials.

The decision has also attracted the attention of the industry since it is significant to how the SEC will classify cryptocurrencies in the future.



Following the announcement, XRP’s price increased 10% and is currently trading at $0.50.
From its all-time high of $3.40, it has still dropped by 85%. The SEC lawsuit has been cited as the cause of the coin’s decline.