Was there corrupt intent at the SEC?

Good article about XRP and the regulatory debacle, and Clayton and Hinman’s conflicts of interest

Clayton and Hinman Open Bitcoin/Ethereum Mining Farms

Excited about contributing to the infrastructure of the two resource-sucking cryptocurrencies for which they already gave regulatory clarity, former SEC officials Jay Clayton and William Hinman opened two massive Bitcoin and Ethereum mining farms Monday in China.

“What sounds better, ‘Bill and Jay’s Farm’ or ‘Jay and Bill’s Farm’? Joked Clayton, laughing and socking his business partner on the arm. “I mean, you were just a director at the SEC, Bill–I was the Chairman. I think we’ll go with ‘Jay and Bill.’ HAHAHAAA!”

…”Clayton and Hinman have both done high-level work for Chinese firms. Both, for instance, were signatories to the filings with the SEC in the IPO for marketplace giant Alibaba. And in addition to China’s creation of a digital yuan, the nation has become a major player in the crypto marketplace, having focused on massively scaling up the nation’s ability to “mine” Bitcoin. Some theorize that China effectively controls the Bitcoin marketplace, with some two-thirds of the total global mining capacity.

Beyond being threatened by large-scale Bitcoin mining elsewhere, the one thing that would concern the Chinese government is competition from other cryptocurrencies — currencies like XRP. By taking government action and effectively tying up the trading of XRP, those who control the mining of Bitcoin and Ether could benefit enormously…”

“How the hell do these things work? I don’t know,” said former SEC Chair Jay Clayton of his new Bitcoin and Ethereum mining rigs, “but I do know they aren’t securities! HA!”

The move has some individuals raising eyebrows, particularly since the SEC sued blockchain payments company Ripple in December immediately before Clayton and Hinman’s departure, claiming their sales of the digital asset XRP were securities violations.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” said Hinman to XRP_Productions reporters. “If XRP holders are upset, maybe they shouldn’t have bought an asset without clarity. Me and Jay did the responsible thing–we started our business around two cryptos that already have regulatory clarity. BWAHAHAHAAAAA!”

Coil subscribers can see what Jay Clayton’s TRUE VENDETTA is against Ripple below…

SEC Chairman Says Cryptocurrencies Like Ethereum Are Not Securities

SEC Chairman Confirms Cryptocurrencies Like Ethereum Are Not Securities

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton Agrees That Certain Cryptocurrencies Are Not Securities

It seems the SEC chairman Jay Clayton agrees with the agency’s head of the Division of Corporate Finance, William Hinman. Last July, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Hinman’s opinion that that cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH are not securities. “If the network on which the token or coin is to function is sufficiently decentralized” then the currency is likely not a security explained Hinman during the Yahoo All Markets Summit. A few months ago, the blockchain legislative advocacy group Coincenter sent a letter co-signed by representative Ted Budd that asked the SEC chairman if he agreed with Hinman’s valuation.

“I agree with Director Hinman’s explanation of how a digital asset transaction may no longer represent an investment contract,” Clayton’s response read.

The SEC chairman’s letter continued:

Was there corrupt intent at the SEC?

Posted on 

By John E. Deaton, Founder and Host of CryptoLaw.

You would think that blatant government corruption and self-dealing was the stuff of a Hollywood movie, but when you peel back the layers of the Ripple case, examine its origins, and review key facts related to some of its central figures at the Securities and Exchange Commission, a larger story emerges that can’t be ignored.

Former Chairman Jay Clayton, ex-Corporation Finance Director William Hinman, and former Enforcement Director Marc Berger took very specific actions while they were in office, related to very specific cryptocurrencies. In parallel, they have very specific financial interests related to cryptocurrencies, which were benefited by those actions, while millions of retail holders of a specific cryptocurrency were directly harmed. 

Those are the indisputable facts, and taken together they point very clearly to something very troubling behind the SEC’s filing of the Ripple case on Clayton’s last day in office. How can we look at these facts and just dismiss the idea of corrupt intent? 

Here is what we know, in detail:

  • Before joining the SEC, we know that both Clayton and Hinman earned massive fees to support Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group carry out its 2014 IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Alibaba’s Alipay is the largest digital mobile payments platform in the world, and its New York IPO set the stage for China’s intended dominance in global digital payments.
  • By 2016, Chinese-controlled bitcoin miners had moved to control 65% of the bitcoin network hash rate.  Since bitcoin is a proof-of-work token, this gives China control of its network.
  • On January 20, 2017, Jay Clayton was nominated as Chairman of the SEC by President Donald Trump. Despite widespread concerns regarding Clayton’s numerous conflicts of interest, he was ultimately confirmed and sworn in on May 4, 2017.
  • On May 9, 2017, William Hinman was named the Director of Division of Corporation Finance at the SEC. Upon his appointment to the SEC, Hinman left his post at the law firm Simpson Thacher – which sits on the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and represents cryptocurrency-related financial interests – but continued to receive millions in financial payments from the firm.  In short, Hinman had a clear financial interest in any regulatory action by the SEC related to cryptocurrencies – while he was serving in a top SEC position!  This was something one former SEC ethics lawyer said was “a little unsettling.” (A little?) 
  • In 2018, Clayton publicly declared bitcoin not a security, sending the price of bitcoin soaring.
  • During a 2018 Yahoo Finance summit in San Francisco, Hinman declared that the Ethereum token, ether, is not a security.  The price of ether skyrocketed.
  • In 2019, Simpson Thacher led Chinese-based crypto mining company Canaan to their IPO. Canaan provides the technology used for mining bitcoin, and is publicly bullish on Bitcoin.  Hinman was still at the SEC when this happened, and still collecting checks from Simpson Thacher.
  • In early November 2020, then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe wrote Chairman Clayton to express his growing concerns over China’s dominance in crypto and the risk it poses for U.S. national security.
  • On December 4, 2020, Hinman resigned from the SEC.
  • On December 22, 2020 – Clayton’s last day in office – the SEC Enforcement division led by Berger filed its lawsuit against Ripple and its executives alleging that XRP sales over seven years were unregistered securities trades.  The complaint indicates “all sales” were illegal, therefore ensnaring millions of retail XRP holders who have never heard of Ripple but traded the digital currency for years.  The price of XRP plummeted.
  • On January 12, 2021, Acting Enforcement Director Marc Berger announced his resignation from the SEC, departing the agency at the end of the month.
  • On January 12, 2021, Bloomberg reported that Hinman would be returning to the law firm Simpson Thacher, which continues to sit on the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.  Government documents indicate Hinman received over $15 million in payments from Simpson Thacher over the four years he served at the SEC:
  • As of March 2021, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) had edged closer to the full-scale launch of their Digital Yuan, releasing millions of dollars of the digital currency in trials.
  • On March 29, 2021, Bloomberg reported that Clayton had accepted a position at One River Asset Management, a digital asset hedge fund focused exclusively on bitcoin and ether.
  • In its case against Ripple, SEC attorneys have been fighting tooth and nail not to adhere to the One River Asset Management subpoena, more than likely in an attempt to keep potentially incriminating evidence about Clayton’s compensation from coming to light.  
  • On April 15, 2021, Bloomberg reported that Berger was joining Hinman as a partner at Simpson Thacher.

Neither Clayton, nor Hinman, nor Berger, nor the SEC have disputed any of these facts or the chronology of how this all unfolded.  Any objective reading clearly suggests that these three had and/or currently retain financial interests linked to the officials’ actions they took at the SEC. 

Why haven’t these individuals, Simpson Thacher and One River been challenged to explain these facts? 

These facts suggest glaring improprieties, so why aren’t they being investigated? Given  cryptocurrencies total market capitalization swelling into trillions of dollars, if now is not the time to investigate, then when?

It is up to the millions of retail XRP holders, who were directly impacted by these actions, to demand answers if no one else will.