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United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire
November 7, 2022, Decided; November 7, 2022, Filed
Case No. 21-cv-260-PB
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) contends that LBRY, Inc. offered and sold unregistered securities in violation of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933. LBRY responds that it does not need to comply with the Securities Act because its alleged security, a blockchain token called LBC, [*2] is not a security at all. Instead, it argues that LBC functions as a digital currency that is an essential component of the LBRY Blockchain. LBRY also asserts that the SEC's attempt to treat LBC as a security violates its right to due process because the agency did not give LBRY fair notice that its offerings of LBC are subject to the securities laws. The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment addressing both issues.
The nascent technology known as blockchain operates in the background of this dispute. From its earliest days, proponents of blockchain technology have envisioned it as fundamentally altering many aspects of modern life. See Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System (2008), https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf (outlining the idea for a peer-topeer electronic payment system). As LBRY explains, a blockchain is essentially a "decentralized ledger maintained by a network of independently owned computers." See Kauffman Decl., Doc. No. 61-3 at 2 ¶ 5. Verified data is held in decentralized "block[s]" linked together via cryptographic consensus protocols. See id. at 2 ¶ 9. New data is connected to previous blocks, forming a chain. [*3] See id. at 2 ¶ 6. Digital tokens are used to compensate "miners" who validate transactions and allow for peer-to-peer "transfers of value," which are then logged in the decentralized ledger. See id. at 2 ¶ ¶ 6, 9; see also Morici v. Hashfast Techs. LLC, No. 5:14-cv-00087-EJ D, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24251, 2015 WL 906005, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 27, 2015) (further discussing the technical details of "mining").
A. The Development of the LBRY Network
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202738 *; 2022 DNH 138; 2022 WL 16744741
Securities and Exchange Commission v. LBRY, Inc.
Prior History: United States SEC v. LBRY, Inc., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21619, 2022 WL 356772 (D.N.H., Feb. 7, 2022)
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