Judge Approved Blockchain Association’s Brief in Kik Case Despite SEC Objections

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein allowed the Blockchain Association to file a brief in the SEC v. Kik case a day after the regulator filed an objection to letting the group comment.

Apr 28, 2020 at 8:49 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:34 a.m. UTC

A U.S. District Judge allowed the Blockchain Association to file a brief in an ongoing lawsuit between the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Kik despite the regulator’s concerns the group was not a neutral observer.

Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York signed off on the advocacy group’s right to file the amicus – or “friend of the court” – brief last week, a day after the SEC filed an objection saying several members of the association had financial interests in the case, and it therefore was not an objective or neutral entity. 

The Blockchain Association pushed back against the SEC’s description of its role in the case Tuesday, with Executive Director Kristin Smith saying the group was “proud to file” the brief.

“The SEC’s description of our brief was wrong, and we are pleased the court granted our motion to participate as a friend of the court,” she said in a statement shared with CoinDesk. 

Graham Newhall, the association’s communications advisor, said the group wouldn’t comment on the specific claims the SEC made in its filing, but said that “it’s a little strange to treat the Blockchain Association different from other trade associations.”

Kik is not currently a member of the group, though the Blockchain Association does currently manage the “Defend Crypto” fund Kik originally launched last year. 

“The Blockchain Association was proud to file its amicus brief in this matter, and we appreciate the opportunity to speak for the entire industry in supporting sensible regulation,” Smith said. “The court system benefits from amicus briefs like ours that place the parties’ evidence and arguments in their broader context, a role played every day by associations, non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups in courts across America.”

Kik and the SEC both filed their oppositions to motions for summary judgement by the parties late last Friday.

The SEC maintains the kin sales were a securities transaction, while Kik says its public sale was not. Kik originally sought a jury trial for the case, which began in June 2019, though it has since walked back from the stance. 

The SEC declined to comment.

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