Growth Wanes at Instacart, GopuffRead more

SEC chair Gary Gensler and LBRY co-founder Jeremy Kauffman. Art by Clark Miller
SEC chair Gary Gensler and LBRY co-founder Jeremy Kauffman. Art by Clark Miller

The SEC v. LBRY: How a New Hampshire Court Battle Could Rewrite the Rules of Crypto

The libertarian co-founder of a small blockchain platform goes up against Gary Gensler’s SEC in a small court case with enormous implications.

SEC chair Gary Gensler and LBRY co-founder Jeremy Kauffman. Art by Clark Miller
Aug. 26, 2022 10:00 AM PDT

Less than two hours before we spoke on the phone last week, Jeremy Kauffman tweeted that if voters elected him as New Hampshire’s next U.S. senator, his goal would be “for America to never launch another drone strike in the Middle East.” It was a sentiment shared by many self-identified libertarians, who have long opposed U.S. military incursions abroad. But then came the next line of Kauffman’s post: “Failing that, my fallback goal is to have Liz Cheney strapped to the next bomb.”

A 37-year-old computer scientist, blockchain CEO and dark-horse Senate candidate from Manchester, N.H., Kauffman considers himself a “dissident,” one who’s living under a government regime of “soft totalitarianism.” But he also likes to keep things light: “I play a little bit, at times, this character of a bombastic, over-the-top libertarian. But that’s what social media is. This is the game that we're playing.”

But the primary focus of our call was not Kauffman’s controversial tweets, or his long-shot campaign to oust Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., from Congress this November, or even his red-pilled campaign site. It was his ongoing fight against the Securities and Exchange Commission, which sued Kauffman’s blockchain startup LBRY in March 2021, nearly three years after the agency began investigating the company for securities violations. The case is being closely watched by crypto executives and investors, as well as by regulators in Washington, D.C., as a potential watershed moment in the industry’s history. When a judgment is issued sometime in the coming weeks, it could mark a significant step forward for crypto—or a dramatic leap backward, depending on where you stand.

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Art by Clark Miller.
Exclusive startups crypto
MoonPay CEO, Other Executives Cashed Out Before Crypto Business Dropped
In November 2021, just as crypto prices were hitting all-time highs, MoonPay—a crypto payments startup that celebrities including Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton had praised for its non-fungible token “concierge” service— announced it had completed its first ever outside fundraising: an eye-popping $555 million round at a $3.4 billion valuation from investors including Tiger Global Management and Coatue Management.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. Photo by Bloomberg
semiconductors ai
Why Nvidia Aids Cloud Rivals of AWS, Google and Microsoft
Nvidia’s business of selling chips for artificial intelligence is going gangbusters, but the company faces a looming problem.
Instacart CEO Fidji Simo. Photo by Getty.
Exclusive startups Finance
Growth Wanes at Instacart, Gopuff
Grocery upstarts Instacart and Gopuff haven’t been able to deliver two things at once this year: growth and profits.
Tim Cook. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive apple ar/vr
Apple’s Learning Curve: How Headset’s Design Caused Production Challenges
If Apple unveils its long-awaited mixed-reality headset next week as expected, it will represent the company’s riskiest gamble on a new product since the iPhone.
Art by Clark Miller, Shutterstock (4)
Opinion ar/vr
Don’t Count the Metaverse Out
The technology hype cycle would have us believe that the metaverse—so recently the darling of digital trendsetters—is on the decline, its place usurped by generative artificial intelligence.
Mixed hydroxide precipitate, the go-to feedstock for battery nickel sulfate, on a conveyor belt at Indonesia's Harita Group, which pioneered the process. Photo: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg
The Electric electric vehicles
The Electric: Western Auto and Battery Makers’ Big Gamble on Indonesian Nickel
For much of the last century, metals companies have made stainless steel from nickel mined in Russia or the Philippines and smelted at temperatures up to 2,900 degrees.