Ripple Wins Battle For ‘Hinman Documents’ in Bitter SEC Case

The SEC had fought for the Hinman Speech documents to be inadmissible in its case against Ripple, but now they’re set to be released


Andrey Burmakin/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Ripple has secured a small victory against the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) — shutting down the agency’s motion to seal internal files known as the “Hinman Speech documents.”

Those documents consist of SEC drafts and emails relating to a speech given by William Hinman, former Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, more than four years ago. 

Hinman’s speech reportedly indicated the agency did not consider ether a security at the time. Ripple lawyers have fought to learn more about how Hinman came to that conclusion, which could impact XRP’s own classification.

According to Tuesday’s filing, the SEC made an attempt to justify the need for confidentiality, contending their lack of relevance to the summary judgment motions and potential disclosure could significantly harm the agency’s interests.

Judge Analisa Torres disagreed in the filing, which triggered an 8% rally for XRP.

“Regardless of whether the court ultimately determines that the Hinman Speech Documents are admissible, or whether the court relies on the documents in ruling on the summary judgment motions, they are judicial documents subject to a strong presumption of public access because they are ‘relevant to the performance of the judicial function and useful in the judicial process.’”

The SEC had sought to redact three categories of information in the case: names and identifying information of the SEC’s expert witnesses and XRP investor declarants, personal and financial information and the Hinman documents. 

Public access to the documents has been granted while partial redactions of the names and identifying information of SEC witnesses will remain sealed to protect their welfare. 

Still, the vast majority of the SEC’s expert reports and investor statements, including those relevant to the court’s decision on the summary judgment motions, will be part of the public record. The documents have yet to appear on official court websites.

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Not just Hinman: Ripple information will also be unsealed

The regulator sued Ripple in December 2020. The lawsuit accuses Ripple and key executives of conducting an illegal securities offering that raised over $1.3 billion in XRP sales.

While Ripple Labs won a small victory, its own motion to seal key information relating to its business activities was also denied.

Specifically, the references linking Ripple’s revenues with XRP sales and the amount of compensation offered by Ripple to trading platforms to list XRP will be accessible to the public. 

The amount of Ripple’s XRP sales targeted at investors through programmatic and institutional sales will also not be sealed, per the filing. Ripple has regularly released quarterly reports detailing that activity, which shows billions in XRP bought and sold by the San Francisco firm.

A determination via summary judgment is expected to be handed down sometime later this year, though a definitive timeline remains unclear. An SEC spokesperson declined to comment.

In the meantime, investors are surely waiting to read the unsealed Hinman documents.

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