First SEC Official to Say Ether Is Not a Security Is Leaving the Agency Later This Year

William Hinman, the director of the SEC’s division of corporation finance, is planning to leave the agency later this year.

AccessTimeIconOct 27, 2020 at 7:24 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:24 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Tuesday that William Hinman, the director of the SEC’s division of corporation finance, is planning to conclude his tenure later this year. 

Notably, Hinman was the first official at the agency to say that, in his view, the native currency of the Ethereum blockchain, ether (ETH), was not a security. Speaking at an event in 2018, Hinman said that since there is no central figure or group responsible for ETH, it “may not represent an investment contract.”

Hinman has worked for the SEC for over three years, playing a key role in the SEC’s efforts to regulate the cryptocurrency industry. Hinman helped provide a framework that market participants could use to evaluate whether digital assets are offered and sold as securities. 

Tuesday’s announcement also said Hinman led the SEC’s work on revising the criteria for accredited investors. While the SEC’s announcement did not indicate a specific reason for his departure, it noted Hinman’s contributions to multiple areas such as improving disclosures to investors and leading the creation of the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub).

Following Hinman’s departure, the deputy director of the division, Shelley Parratt, will serve as the acting director for the division of corporation finance, the SEC said Tuesday.

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.