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On Thursday, Consensys sued the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a Texas federal court, seeking to prevent an impending SEC action against its MetaMask wallet and to clarify that ether is not a security.

The complaint calls out the agency for what Consensys describes as “regulatory overreach,” challenges its notion that ETH is a security, and says the SEC has violated the Constitutional requirement of fair notice under the due process clause. It notes that for years, the SEC and its sister agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, took the position that ETH is not a security.

The lawsuit also challenges the SEC’s recent focus on Ethereum’s switch to proof of stake in 2022 as a basis for increased scrutiny, a stance Consensys CEO Joseph Lubin deemed “preposterous.”

Laura Brookover, Senior Counsel & Head of Litigation and Investigations at Consensys, joined Unchained to unpack the lawsuit and what it means for the future of Ethereum and overall crypto in the US.

Show highlights:

  • Why Consensys sued the SEC and why Brookover feels like the SEC has gone too far
  • How they are looking for a Judge to declare that the ETH is not a security
  • Whether the switch to proof of stake turned ETH into a security
  • Why the SEC issued Consensys a Wells Notice, with one potential allegation being that it is operating an unregistered securities broker through its MetaMask wallet
  • How the major questions doctrine applies to what the SEC is doing in the industry, according to Brookover
  • Why Hinman’s speech is still relevant today, even after 6 years
  • Whether the moves by the SEC are related to a motivation to deny ether spot ETFs
  • How the several cases against the SEC show that the industry “has had enough”
  • Whether Texas is a jurisdiction favorable to crypto, given that many lawsuits are being filed there
  • The implications of a Consensys victory for the industry and what the next steps in the case are

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  • Laura Brookover, Senior Counsel & Head of Litigation and Investigations at Consensys


The lawsuit: 

Hinman speech

Major questions doctrine

Other SEC cases:

  • Coinbase
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  • Uniswap
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  • Ethereum Foundation
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  • Debt Box
  • Beba
    • DeFi Education Fund and Beba sue SEC over airdrop policies
  • Lejilex