BREAKING: SEC Asks Judge to Quash Deposition from a Former SEC Official in Crypto Case – Former SEC Chairman Clayton Initiated Case Hours Before He Resigned.
While at the helm of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), former Chairman Jay Clayton (pictured below) made a mess of the digital economy. Clayton’s actions in office resulted in stalling U.S. cryptocurrency and blockchain innovations, dampening a burgeoning industry, and enabling China to race out in front. Digital money is here to stay, and instead of making efforts to provide clarity and structure for the future of American-made innovation in this space, Clayton’s SEC kept everyone guessing on the rules while picking clear winners and losers among the biggest coins.
But what if Clayton’s approach was intentional? What if the lawsuits, the flip-flopping, and the uncertainty all weren’t from a lack of knowledge or resources but rather a well-thought-out strategy to advance his financial interests? Thankfully for us, Clayton and his deputies left behind a factual trail that can provide an opportunity for a course correction on U.S. crypto policy, as well as accountability if wrongdoing was indeed afoot.
On December 22, Clayton dropped an 11th-hour lawsuit against crypto innovator Ripple Labs. The announcement of this lawsuit came just 12 hours before Clayton resigned from the SEC. As with other administrations, Clayton may have hoped to file the suit and walk away, never to hear of it again. But his decision to sue Ripple labs sent shockwaves throughout the crypto community, and after a closer look, it appears Clayton left us clues that point to a larger story reeking of self-dealing, possibly even corruption.
Even before he was confirmed in the post in 2017, Clayton had been tagged “the most financially conflicted SEC chairman in history.” Accusation doesn’t equal guilt, but the facts made the label stick. In 2014, Clayton, then partner at the Wall Street firm Sullivan & Cromwell, and William Hinman, then partner at Simpson Thacher, helped Chinese tech giant Alibaba explode onto the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). This helped a company with proven links to the Chinese Communist Party better position itself with the world’s leading digital payments application: Alipay. For years, the U.S. crypto industry has been trying to disrupt that digital payments space – chief among them has been Ripple. The XRP distributed ledger, which Ripple uses for its digital payments solutions, had only just debuted a year before Clayton and Hinman [Clayton’s right hand man at the SEC] helped engineer Alibaba’s market debut.
As we reported last week, the industry is lacking regulations and definitions for what is a currency and what is an investment. Pundit Seekingalpha.com continues:
In 2018, Clayton made his own declaration in a CNBC interview that Bitcoin is not a security, and like Hinman’s comments on Ethereum, this action sent Bitcoin’s price skyrocketing. Both of these coins, anointed as free of regulatory risk by Clayton and Hinman, are proof-of-work cryptocurrencies. This label means they are “mined”, while XRP is designed to skip the costly and energy-consuming mining process and generate faster transactions. Was it a coincidence that after both officials declared Bitcoin and Ethereum to not be securities and increased market interest in them, Simpson Thacher took a Chinese company public that manufactures crypto mining equipment?
Yesterday a letter was sent from the SEC to the judge in the case initiated by former SEC Head Clayton asking that an individual who used to work for the SEC be allowed not to have to provide testimony in a deposition requested (by Ripple) in this case.
We learned during the Trump years that the US government is full of corruption. Wherever President Trump turned there was corruption. The SEC appears to be one of those places.
Ripple XRP & Jay Clayton & William Hinman Conflicts of Interest – Bitcoin and others
Former SEC Officials Clayton and Hinman Open Bitcoin/Ethereum Mining Farms
DescriptionThe petition by crypto and policy for an investigation of Jay Clayton and William Hinman for conflicts of interest during their terms at the SEC will be submitted to Gary Gensler on Friday, May 14. Just departed chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission? Where does he go, after kicking off enforcement action vs Ripple? To One River, a company that is a major investor in Bitcoin, a Ripple XRP competitor. And Clayton joins who else at One River? Jon Orszag & Kevin Hassett. Nebraska bill allowing banks to offer crypto services moves forward. Palantir Technologies, co-founded by Peter Thiel, is “open for business” when it comes to bitcoin, CFO Dave Glazer said on the company’s Tuesday earnings call. Block.one has launched a subsidiary, Bullish Global, with $10 billion in funding backed by prominent investors including Mike Novogratz and Peter Thiel. Hungary plans Bitcoin tax cut as part of economic recovery program. Elon Musk asks Twitter whether Tesla should accept Dogecoin for cars.