This Week on Crypto Twitter: Ethereum, CZ, and Roger Ver in US Government Crosshairs

Illustration by Mitchell Preffer for Decrypt

Crypto Twitter often delivers a heavy helping of the law, but the past seven days brought a double dose. 

On Monday, unredacted portions of a lawsuit filed by Ethereum software company Consensys against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed that the regulator has secretly considered ETH to be a security for over a year. 

The bombshell news quickly sparked anger and indignation, given the fact that SEC Chair Gary Gensler has repeatedly refused to comment publicly on his agency’s view of ETH in the intervening period. 

Even prominent American lawmakers waded into the debate. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, posted a stern statement on Twitter on Tuesday, accusing Gensler of having lied when he testified before Congress about ETH’s regulatory status without revealing the SEC’s internal, pre-existing determination on the subject. 

Shifting from the U.S. House to a federal courthouse, Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao was sentenced to four months in U.S. federal prison that same day. Zhao pleaded guilty to money laundering violations last year. While it was certainly significant to see yet another founder of a major crypto exchange sent behind bars, the punishment was far less harsh than the three years prosecutors were hoping for. 

Indeed, the prevailing sentiment on Twitter following the sentencing hearing was fairly lighthearted, with many joking that Zhao had predicted his own sentencing given his famed use of the number “4” as a signal to dismiss cynical deployments of “fear, uncertainty, and doubt,” or FUD.

Zhao himself took to Twitter shortly after the sentencing hearing to share his plans for life after prison and assert that he accepted the outcome of the trial, writing,I will do my time.”

If that wasn’t enough criminal crypto news for one day, only hours later the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it charged Roger Ver, an early Bitcoin investor known in some circles as “Bitcoin Jesus,” with evading nearly $50 million worth of taxes. Ver was arrested by authorities in Spain on Tuesday. 

Many on Twitter decried the arrest as an unjust anti-crypto provocation, given the fact that Ver renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2014. 

Others signaled their indifference to Ver’s plight, validating his status as a controversial personality in the crypto ecosystem.

Some people found a way to reconcile both perspectives. 

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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