Consensys was founded on an era-defining mission: to empower people and communities through access to blockchain technologies. We believe that advancing adoption of blockchain platforms like Ethereum will help reshape and enhance how future generations will manage economic, financial, social, political, and technological systems, creating a more equitable, transparent, and innovative world.

Guided by our mission, Consensys took an important step towards preserving access to the Ethereum blockchain today, and by extension, permissionless innovation. We filed litigation against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

We took this step for two very basic reasons: (1) the SEC should not be allowed to arbitrarily expand its jurisdiction to include regulating the future of the internet; and (2) the SEC’s reckless approach is bringing chaos to developers, market participants, institutions, and nations who are building or already managing critical systems running on Ethereum, the world’s largest platform for decentralized applications. With our actions today we intend to make the following clear:

  • The SEC only has jurisdiction over securities and up until recently has declared that ether is not and should not be treated as a security.  

  • The SEC has no authority—nor should it—to regulate the technological evolution of the internet or any basic technology for that matter. Ether is the native token of the Ethereum blockchain. It can be traded as a commodity (like oil), but it is also essential to the technological development of applications built on Ethereum – including applications that have clear, non-financial utility for vital sectors like healthcare, energy, transport, media, agriculture, and beyond. The SEC's approach would make it impossible for developers to innovate and build, because it would classify non-financial platforms as financial applications thus requiring the SEC's oversight and approval.

  • Applications such as MetaMask that allow people to buy, sell, and transfer ether on their own are not securities brokers. The MetaMask wallet, created by Consensys, gives users everything they need to explore web3; from managing their identity, sending and receiving cryptocurrency, to connecting to decentralized applications built on Ethereum. Declaring it a securities broker would effectively block web3 developers from continuing to build next generation applications themselves. 

We have time and time again witnessed the current SEC contradict itself with ever-changing views on the blockchain, consistently mischaracterizing this technology and what is built on it as a shallow and doomed investment scheme, rather than as the breakthrough technology it is. Some of these common and profound misunderstandings about blockchain technology and the benefits it will bring are outlined here.

We fervently believe this technology will prove to be world-changing. Think back to the first time you touched the internet. Did you ever imagine devices like iPhones, smart home devices and vehicles, or connected watches would be possible? That’s the launchpad we stand on today with Ethereum’s potential—a more transparent, accountable, and secure world, a world of possibilities we’re only just beginning to imagine and unlock. Ethereum must be allowed to mature so that we can each claim our right and power to be active builders of the web. 

We don’t take this step lightly, but we feel compelled to act. Our action today is intended to protect the Ethereum ecosystem as well as the entirety of the extended decentralized protocol ecosystem. Because Ethereum isn't just about information being permissionless. It's about human ingenuity being permissionless.

We encourage others who feel the same way to make their voices heard and learn more.

Ethereum is for everyone. 

Joe Lubin,
Co-founder of Ethereum and Founder/CEO of Consensys