• Ripple Wins Against SEC Concerning Hinman’s Ethereum Speech
  • Kaspersky Labs Reveals North Korean Hackers’ Current Target In The Crypto Industry

Ripple has won against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding William Hinman’s email containing a draft of his Ethereum speech. Hinman, an ex-SEC executive, delivered the speech in 2018.

In his speech, the former SEC executive said that Ethereum’s native asset, ETH, isn’t a security since it had a higher degree of decentralization.

The securities watchdog holds that Ripple’s base asset, XRP, is a security and the platform’s heads proceeded with its sale without getting authority from relevant authorities despite knowing it was a security.

On the other hand, Ripple holds that XRP isn’t a security. In its defense, Ripple sought to get a copy of Hinman’s speech to extract how the ex-executive concluded that ETH wasn’t a security. The tech startup hopes to use the evidence to change the SEC’s view of XRP.

The court ruling also touches on documents involving the securities watchdog’s virtual currency expert, Valerie Szczepanik.

The SEC had argued that the email was a privileged document, hence unable to provide it to Ripple. The securities watchdog also invoked necessary provisions to guard government bodies in specific conditions.

Hinman’s 2018 Speech Was “Merely Peripheral to Actual Policy Formation”

A copy of the court ruling shows that privilege “shields from disclosure ‘documents reflecting advisory opinions, recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by which government decisions and policies are formulated.’”

Despite the SEC quoting various privileges, Judge Sarah Netburn held that they couldn’t cover a draft copy of Hinman’s speech since it contained his personal observations.

The court noted that the former SEC executive’s “speech was ‘merely peripheral to actual policy formation.’”

Consequently, documents pertaining to “emails concerning the speech” or its draft are not “entitled to protection.”

However, Ripple didn’t receive a favorable decision on all the documents it requested from the SEC. For example, it failed to obtain 6 out of “17 sets of notes by” Szczepanik because they are either intra-agency discussions or non-agency meetings hence covered by the privilege.

Ripple also failed to secure a document that “consists of an email chain among the staff of various SEC Divisions.”

Ripple Will “Continue to Aggressively Defend This Case”

The court also ruled against furnishing the tech startup with the full content of “an email chain” between the US securities regulator and the Corporation Finance and Investment Management.

While Ripple attained a large percentage of the documents they were seeking, the SEC will produce some of the documents in part since some sections may be protected by privilege.

Commenting on the ruling, Stu Alderoty, Ripple’s general counsel, expressed his satisfaction, adding that they’ll “continue to aggressively defend this case.”

Alderoty noted that “the resolution of this case” will bring clarity across the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

However, the ruling is only one step on a long road of proving whether XRP is a security or not. Not everyone thinks that Ripple has a winning chance.

A Twitter user noted that “nobody can do anything against [the] SEC. The power of US institutions can break every company if they want.” They added that although they hold XRP, they “wonder how it will be possible that Ripple can negotiate anything and settle.”

As Ripple celebrates its win, Kaspersky Labs has released a report indicating North Korean hackers’ current target in the crypto ecosystem.

North Korean Hackers Target Crypto Startups, $400 Million Stolen in 2021

According to the Russian cybersecurity company, North Korean hackers are using high-end phishing attacks to target startups in the crypto industry. The firm noted that BlueNoroff, a hacking entity in North Korea, has stolen more than one billion US dollars from different companies in the world.

It’s believed that the hacking entity is connected to the famous cybercriminal gang called Lazarus. Kaspersky identified conversations by BlueNoroff’s top executives focusing on attacks.

Apart from phishing and social engineering, BlueNoroff operatives are also impersonating top individuals in the cryptocurrency world. For example, they impersonated a top executive at Grayscale Investments’ owner, Digital Currency Group (DCG).

According to Kaspersky, BlueNoroff sent an email to a cryptocurrency startup. The email contained a malicious link. Apart from a DCG official, the hackers also impersonated individuals in 14 other firms.

In 2021, North Korean hackers stole virtual currencies worth roughly 400 million USD. According to Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics company, the amount represented a 40 percent increase compared to 2020.

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