Though the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is waging legal war across the crypto space, Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin isn’t breaking a sweat. 

When asked about regulators potentially treating Ether (ETH) like a security, the Consensys CEO explained during a Tuesday interview with CNBC that the regulatory verdict on Ethereum is already in.

“The SEC has spoken,” he said, referring to former SEC commissioner Bill Hinman’s 2018 speech on crypto securities and Ethereum.

New documents have revealed that Hinman received multiple warnings from colleagues that the speech could confuse markets into thinking that the SEC had already deemed the asset a non-security.

A security is a financial instrument often (but not always) associated with some kind of investment contract. A commodity, by contrast, is a basic or natural good, like gold, wheat, or cattle. 


“The CFTC has spoken very crisply a number of times that they consider Ether like a commodity,” added Lubin.

While Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Rostin Benham agrees that many cryptocurrencies are securities, he also thinks the three top assets—including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum, and Tether (USDT)—belong under his agency’s jurisdiction as commodities. 

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, by contrast, has only publicly deemed Bitcoin as such.

On the topic of Ether, Gensler has kept a tight lip. Some videos from his time as an MIT professor suggest he once thought it was a security, while others indicate he believed it had graduated from a security into a commodity by 2018. 

Members of Congress are drafting legislation to clear up this issue, including Cynthia Lummis and Kirsten Gillibrand, and have voiced agreement with the CFTC that Ether is a commodity alongside Bitcoin.

“It’s really a forgone conclusion at this point,” said Lubin. “There may be a regulator or two in the United States that can’t bring himself to utter the fact that Ether is not a security, but I don’t know why that’s the case.”

The SEC sued Binance and Coinbase earlier this month alleging that over a dozen assets listed on their platform were securities, including Paxos-issued stablecoin BUSD. 


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