SEC refuses to provide documents on employees' Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin (BTC), and Ethereum (ETH) holdings

Sun 05 Sep 2021 ▪ 11h30 ▪ 4 min read — by James Taylor

In the latest update on the Ripple v. the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuit, the SEC has refused Ripple’s request to reveal the SEC employees’ XRP holdings. Citing the privacy of its staff, the SEC urged the court to reject Ripple’s motion.

Ethics Counsel’s opinion

On 27th August, Ripple filed a notice at court, demanding that the SEC disclose their staff’s XRP holdings, as well as information on Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). The blockchain company asked to provide this information in the form of anonymised documents, or alternatively, in aggregate form. 

On 3rd September, the SEC finally objected, arguing that providing trading activity information on its staff would be an “unjustified intrusion“.

In the official document, Pascal Guerrier, trial Attorney at the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, wrote, “The sensitive data is collected by the SEC’s Office of the Ethics Counsel for purposes of ensuring SEC employees’ compliance with ethical rules intended to prevent conflicts of interest—not to determine whether any particular transaction complies with the securities laws.”

It’s important to note that the Ethics Counsel confirmed it hadn’t included XRP, Bitcoin or Ethereum in the list of prohibited assets. XRP, however, was on its “Watch List”.

Other reasons

The SEC also provided other reasons why it didn’t want the court to accept Ripple’s motion. Although Ripple requested anonymised documents, the SEC believes that even aggregated data will undermine the employees’ trust in the Ethics Counsel.

In addition, the SEC noted that gathering this information will require a lot of time and effort from the Ethics Counsel, since Ripple has requested nine years’ worth of materials. The SEC calls the requested information “simply irrelevant”, adding that “the substantial weight of the privacy interests of SEC employees also outweigh any benefit of disclosure.”

Another perspective

In his recent tweet, defence attorney and former federal prosecutor James K. Filan shared screenshots of documents consisting of the SEC’s response. Responding to one of the Twitter users, he said that “the problem for the SEC is that they are wrong on the facts and wrong on the law. Nevertheless, nothing I have seen has changed my opinion that this case is going the distance.”

The proceedings between the SEC and Ripple have been ongoing since December 2020 and seem likely to drag on well into 2022. It all started with the SEC accusing Ripple and its executives (Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen) of selling unregistered securities under the guise of XRP tokens.

The price of XRP has been quite sensitive to news and rumours. So, if the crypto market continues to grow, and Ripple wins the case, the coin will be in for significant growth.

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James Taylor

Trends are temporary. The blockchain isn’t a trend; it’s the future. I want to help as many people as possible understand it in a simple, clear and interesting way.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and should not be taken as investment advice. Do your own research before taking any investment decisions.

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