Hinman Documents Shakes Up SEC vs. Ripple Case: What Happens Next?

Unveiled emails expose SEC’s internal discussions on Ether classification, undermining their case against Ripple.

Brad Garlinghouse jumping in the air with documents behind a sculpture looking shocked at Ripple coin.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • Internal SEC discussions have been exposed, which have shaken up the Ripple legal battle.
  • Hinman documents have revealed a discrepancy in the SEC’s stance on cryptocurrencies.
  • The unveiling of these documents has set the stage for potential legal challenges.

Recently unearthed email correspondences from 2018 have shed light on the internal discussions held among several officials of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the classification of Ether as a security. 

These emails were made public by Ripple as part of its ongoing legal battle with the SEC, which alleges that Ripple unlawfully sold XRP as unregistered securities for a period spanning more than seven years.


The unsealing of the Hinman documents deals a significant blow to the SEC’s case against Ripple. Hinman’s speech underscored that the SEC’s definition of a security maintains a “technology-neutral” stance, which does not encompass decentralized cryptocurrencies lacking a central issuing authority. 

“And putting aside the fundraising that accompanied the creation of Ether, based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions.”

This incongruity raises questions about the SEC’s litigation against Ripple and its adherence to its own guidelines concerning categorizing cryptocurrencies.

Moreover, the disclosure of the Hinman documents signifies a triumph for transparency. The SEC has faced reproach for its secretive handling of the Ripple case, and releasing these documents will provide the public with a clearer understanding of the SEC’s decision-making process regarding cryptocurrency regulation.


While it remains premature to ascertain the full implications of unsealing the Hinman documents on the Ripple case, it is undeniably a momentous development expected to substantially influence the ultimate outcome.

What Could Happen Next?

The unveiling of the Hinman documents stands as a significant victory for Ripple; nevertheless, it does not mark the end of the legal proceedings. The SEC is anticipated to persist in pursuing the case against Ripple, and the unsealing document may engender further legal challenges.

However, this revelation could also pave the way for a settlement between Ripple and the SEC. In the event of a settlement, Ripple would likely agree to pay a fine to the SEC without admitting any wrongdoing. Such an agreement would favor Ripple, as it would circumvent the hazards and expenses associated with a protracted trial.

While the SEC claimed that the speech did not necessarily reflect the views of the entire SEC, the recently disclosed emails, made public on June 13, reveal that multiple SEC officials engaged in deliberations regarding the classification of Ether as a security.

On the Flipside

  • While significant for Ripple, the unsealing of the Hinman documents does not guarantee a favorable outcome for the company in the ongoing legal proceedings.
  • The SEC’s persistence in pursuing the case against Ripple indicates that they still believe they have a strong argument regarding the sale of XRP as unregistered securities.
  • The disclosure of the Hinman documents, while promoting transparency, does not absolve Ripple from potential legal consequences if it is found to have violated securities laws.

Why This Matters

The unearthing of email correspondences and the disclosure of the Hinman documents in the ongoing legal battle between Ripple and the SEC hold tremendous significance as it sheds light on the SEC’s internal discussions and decision-making process regarding the classification of cryptocurrencies

To learn more about the potential ripple effect of the Ripple vs. SEC case on the ongoing lawsuits involving Binance and Coinbase, read here:

Ripple vs. SEC: The Domino Effect on Binance and Coinbase Lawsuits

To delve into the treasure trove of insights contained in the recently revealed Hinman documents and their significance for Ripple’s CEO, find out more here:

Ripple CEO Certain of a Hinman Document Treasure Trove


Who is Bill Hinman?

Bill Hinman held a significant role at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He served as the Division of Corporation Finance Director at the SEC from May 2017 to December 2020. He played a crucial part in shaping the SEC’s policies and regulations concerning securities and cryptocurrencies during his tenure.

What are the Hinman documents?

The Hinman documents refer to a collection of emails and other correspondences involving discussions and communications among U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission officials. These documents specifically pertain to the classification of Ether as a security and have gained attention due to their relevance to the ongoing legal case involving Ripple and the SEC.

What is in the Hinman emails?

The content of the Hinman emails includes exchanges between various U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission officials regarding the classification of Ether as a security. These emails shed light on the internal discussions and deliberations held within the SEC, providing insights into the perspectives and viewpoints of the officials involved.

What time will the Hinman documents be released?

The Hinman documents were released to the public on June 13, 2023.

Where is Bill Hinman now?

Bill Hinman is presently a Senior Advisor in the Corporate Department at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. He is located in Washington, D.C.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Kyle Calvert

Kyle Calvert is a cryptocurrency news reporter for DailyCoin, specializing in Ripple, stablecoins, as well as price and market analysis news. Before his current role, Kyle worked as a student researcher in the cryptocurrency industry, gaining an understanding of how digital currencies work, their potential uses, and their impact on the economy and society. He completed his Masters and Honors degrees in Blockchain Technology within Esports and Business and Event management within Esports at Staffordshire University.