On Wednesday (7 December 2022), U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) said during an interview that Ethereum ($ETH) might get called a security by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).
According to a press release issued on 7 June 2022, “U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), member of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, landmark bipartisan legislation that will create a complete regulatory framework for digital assets that encourages responsible financial innovation, flexibility, transparency and robust consumer protections while integrating digital assets into existing law.”
According to a report by CoinDesk, yesterday (7 December 2022), during an interview on CoinDesk TV, Lummis — who plans to reintroduce her bipartisan bill next year — said that “it’s starting to look more like bitcoin is the only thing that would qualify as a commodity,” and that Ethereum might be “a security because of the way [it] moved from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake,” with the “inability to [unstake tokens] right now” making it “susceptible to being [considered] a security.”
On 6 December 2022, while being interviewed by entrepreneur Patrick Bet-David (“PBD”) for episode 212 of the PBD Podcast, Michael Saylor, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman at business intelligence software company MicroStrategy Inc. (Nasdaq: MSTR), was asked what he thinks about Ripple (or rather XRP).
Saylor, who seems confused by the difference between Ripple, which is a FinTech firm specializing in cross-border payment solutions, and XRP, which is a digital asset that is the native token of the XRP Ledger (XRPL), replied:
“Ripple is an unregistered security… There’s a company. The company owns a bunch of it. They sell it to the general public, but they never took the company public. There’s no disclosures, right? So the SEC’s position is ‘you’re selling an unregistered security’. It’s a crypto token, right?
Just like Ethereum is an unregistered security. It’s controlled by a few people in the Ethereum Foundation and Consensys… Just like FTT. Just like Solana. They’re all unregistered securities…”
PBD then asked Saylor if all altcoins are unregistered securities, why is the SEC going after $XRP and not $ETH.
“I think the best thing for the world would be with if the SEC pretty much shut down all of it. It’s all unethical, right? I mean the Bitcoin position would be Bitcoin is an ethical commodity. All of these other altcoins are unregistered securities. They’re all just equity tokens issued by a company in order to get around going public and they’re committing securities fraud, Ethereum included, of course. Especially Ethereum.
“You know, Ethereum’s got 20 billion dollars of $ETH token locked up in the staking contract right now and there’s a couple of people that may or may not give it back to you ever. Now, isn’t that the definition of an investment contract? If a bank took 20 billion dollars of your assets, froze the the window, and said, ‘you can’t have your money back ever, it may be in the year 2024, we’re not sure, we’re just going to keep it, we may actually give you interest on it, we may take it all, we may slash it.
“That’s the definition of a security, right? It’s an investment of money in a common enterprise, relying upon the efforts of others and expectation of profit. The whole point is if you want to crypto asset to be a commodity, you can’t rely upon four, engineers, a company, a CEO. If a person can make a decision, It’s not a commodity.“
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