Crypto Is a Core American Issue, Consensys’ Joe Lubin Says

The Ethereum co-founder discusses why his firm decided to sue the SEC on stage at Consensus 2024.

AccessTimeIconMay 29, 2024 at 9:56 p.m. UTC
Updated May 29, 2024 at 10:18 p.m. UTC

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin is taking the fight to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In late April, his firm, Consensys, decided to preemptively sue the U.S. securities watchdog after receiving what’s known as a Wells notice – or an indication that the agency is building a case against a firm.

On the Mainstage at Consensus 2024 on Wednesday, the longtime crypto advocate gave a sense of what Consensys is trying to get out of its lawsuit filed “in the great state of Texas.” Namely: regulatory clarity, the preservation of free markets in crypto and a resolution that open source developers will not be targeted.

“What we're trying to achieve is the freedom to innovate,” Lubin said on stage. “We have been doing our best to thread the needle between offering access to applications and needing to be a regulated financial institution. We're pretty sure we got it right and continue to get it right,” which is why the SEC’s recent, call it interest, in Ethereum is so worrying.

Lubin suggested that the SEC has begun to target the biggest players in Ethereum like decentralized exchange Uniswap, the nonprofit Ethereum Foundation and major development studio Consensys precisely because their efforts challenge the potential authority and “vested interests” of regulators and legislators.

“Ethereum represents an existential threat to the weight of life of those who would prefer to perpetuate the system and be a top down control,” Lubin said, adding later that crypto is already changing “the structure of society.”

“We need some sort of deliverance from top down command and control because it's not working as well as it needs to,” he added.

At the same time, however, Lubin said that crypto has crossed “the chasm” into American politics, which has become an increasingly popular talking point among speakers. For instance, CEO Tom Farley of Bullish (which owns CoinDesk) and New York Stock Exchange President Lynn Martin agreed on stage that in 10 year’s time it’s unlikely crypto remains a partisan issue.

Likewise, Lubin noted the former President Trump’s embrace of crypto and recent judicial wins have led to a sea-change in how it is being evaluated politically. But he stressed the importance of talking to “all parties that are holding power currently,” even if many in crypto are “more interested in moving beyond the current political constructs” through decentralized tech.

“Most of the people who are empowered by the technology realize that decentralization is consistent with American principles like free market capitalism and democracy,” Lubin said.


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Daniel Kuhn

Daniel Kuhn is a deputy managing editor for Consensus Magazine. He owns minor amounts of BTC and ETH.