The Ethereum Foundation, the core entity behind the Ethereum ecosystem, is under scrutiny as reports surface of an ongoing investigation by an undisclosed “state authority.” This revelation comes amidst past legal inquiries, including allegations linked to the 2016 Gatecoin hack.

In a GitHub commit dated February 26, 2024, the Ethereum Foundation disclosed receipt of a voluntary inquiry from a state authority, coupled with a strict confidentiality mandate. Details regarding the nature of the inquiry and the identity of the authority remain undisclosed.

CoinDesk noted the removal of a disclosure from the Ethereum Foundation’s website, previously asserting no contact from any agency necessitating non-disclosure. Additionally, the website’s warrant canary, a signal indicating the absence of covert government subpoenas or requests, was also removed in the same GitHub commit.

The elimination of the warrant canary raises community concerns, as it traditionally serves as a subtle indicator of potential government involvement. Typically, companies employ warrant canaries on their websites to signal receipt of secret government requests.

Previous legal scrutiny faced by the Ethereum Foundation, particularly concerning its alleged involvement in the 2016 Gatecoin hack, adds context to this recent development. Accusations brought forward by on-chain forensic analyst TruthLabs targeted key figures such as Vitalik Buterin and Joseph Lubin, sparking intense community debates and prompting an independent legal investigation.

It remains unclear whether the ongoing investigation is linked to past incidents or pertains to a separate matter. Concurrently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues evaluating multiple applications for an Ether Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). However, analysts express waning optimism regarding approval, citing limited engagement between applicants and SEC officials.

In response to the news, Ethereum ($ETH) experienced a sudden 3% decline within minutes, currently trading at $3,285 according to CoinMarketCap.

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