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SEC Drops Ethereum (ETH) Probe, But Consensys Litigation Marches Forward

SEC Drops Ethereum (ETH) Probe, But Consensys Litigation Marches Forward

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Consensys, a leading Ethereum software company, is pressing forward with its lawsuit against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), seeking greater regulatory clarity for the cryptocurrency sector, even after the SEC concluded its 14-month investigation into the Ethereum developer. 

SEC Investigation Closure

The SEC announced the closure of its investigation on June 18, which had scrutinized the buying and selling of Ether during Ethereum's transition to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. The investigation, which began on March 28, 2023, also included a Wells notice sent to Consensys in April, indicating potential enforcement action against the company's crypto wallet service, MetaMask. This sparked debates over whether Ether should be classified as a security.

Consensys's Response

Consensys CEO Joseph Lubin welcomed the end of the investigation as a positive development but criticized the SEC's approach. 

He stated, 

“We are hopeful that the antagonism to crypto among some US regulators is starting to wane and that the national investor protection strategy will evolve from the current guerrilla tactics. Until then, we soldier forth with our litigation against the SEC in Texas because we are intent on achieving more legal clarity for all.”

Lubin's comments highlight the company's dissatisfaction with what it views as regulatory "ambush tactics" and a lack of clear legal guidance for the industry. Despite the SEC's decision to end the probe, Consensys believes the broader regulatory issues remain unresolved.

The Lawsuit Continues

Consensys initiated its lawsuit shortly after receiving the Wells notice in April 2023, arguing that the SEC lacks the authority to regulate Ether. The company referenced a 2018 declaration of ETH as a commodity and pointed to the recent approval of spot Ethereum ETFs as further evidence that ETH should not be considered a security. In a June 2024 blog post, Consensys stated the investigation was unwarranted and highlighted these points to bolster its case.

The SEC's closure letter clarified that its decision does not exempt Consensys from future investigations, leaving a cloud of uncertainty over other cryptocurrencies with similar mechanisms. This uncertainty underscores the ongoing need for clear regulatory frameworks.

Seeking Regulatory Clarity

Consensys' lawsuit asserts that it operates by developing software products for global use on the Ethereum network. The company argues that it should be able to conduct its business without the threat of unpredictable enforcement actions.  

Consensys' continued litigation aims to achieve a clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, ensuring businesses can operate with certainty and without unnecessary legal obstacles. This lawsuit against the SEC is a critical step towards securing a more transparent and fair regulatory environment for the burgeoning crypto sector.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. 

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