After District Judge Analisa Torres decided not to seal the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) documents containing William Hinman's speech on May 16, lawyers who have been following the lawsuit against Ripple are now making predictions regarding the dates when those documents will be released to the public.
The Hinman speech records are significant for both Ripple, which has already suffered greatly because of the litigation, and the SEC. When the Commission took legal action against the company behind a popular XRP token in 2020 to prove that XRP is a security and not money, the cryptocurrency's liquidity was drastically affected as the court restricted Ripple’s access to its XRP reserve funds, while many crypto exchanges decided to suspend XRP trading or delist the token.
The documents in question have sparked controversy as they contain the records of Hinman, the former SEC Corporation Finance Division director, claiming that another cryptocurrency, Ether, was not a security during the 2018 Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit.
Now that Torres has ruled that the Hinman speech documents are related to the legal case, XRP supporters are eagerly awaiting their release.
"Update on timing regarding when we should see the documents ordered to be unsealed. According to the Court’s 9/12/2022 Order, the parties have 21 days to file public, redacted versions of Summary Judgment documents consistent with the sealing ruling. June 6 is 21 days from yesterday’s ruling," defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor James K. Filan tweeted on May 17.
However, the opinions of other lawyers and members of the XRP community differ. Some believe that SEC has only ten days to disclose the documents. Others fear that the deadline for releasing the documents is three weeks, while SEC could still have permission to appeal, which would again prolong the case. "Historically, we see delay tactics from the SEC. Are there any appeals they can file on this ruling? If so, could they wait until the 21st day, and then file the appeal, delaying further?" Twitter user Blockchain Backer asked Filan.
Some members of the XRP community on Twitter are also rather skeptical about the news. "How many times has the court ruled to provide these documents already? I lost count and I'm not in the assumption they will ever be made public," Twitter user Jeffrey wondered in a post.
Many users are curious if they can see the unredacted version of the documents. In addition to requesting that the records be sealed, SEC also asked for permission to redact them. This request was granted by the judge, however, the permission only applies to the names of the individuals mentioned in the documents and their personal information. Still, many XRP holders are afraid that everything in the SEC documents will be redacted.
For some Twitter users, it also seems that a settlement would be the best option for SEC, as disclosing the emails could cause it to "lose its jurisdiction on crypto and risk private lawsuits."
Meanwhile, SEC has already selected another cryptocurrency to label as a security. Grayscale Investments, an investment firm specializing in cryptocurrency funds and products, launched its Filecoin Trust on March 17, 2021.
"On May 16, 2023, Grayscale received a comment letter from the SEC staff stating its view that the Trust’s underlying asset, FIL, meets the definition of a security under the federal securities laws and that therefore the Trust appears to meet the definition of an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940," Grayscale reported in its May 17 announcement, adding, "The SEC staff requested that Grayscale seek withdrawal of the registration statement promptly."