Coinbase CEO Says SEC Lack Of Clarity Is "Harming America"

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jun 06, 2023 - 05:00 PM

Update (1300ET): Copinbase CEO Brian Armstrong took to Twitter to respond to the SEC lawsuit: 

Regarding the SEC complaint against us today, we're proud to represent the industry in court to finally get some clarity around crypto rules.


1. The SEC reviewed our business and allowed us to become a public company in 2021.

2. There is no path to "come in and register" - we tried, repeatedly - so we don't list securities. We reject the vast majority of assets we review.

3. The SEC and CFTC have made conflicting statements, and don't even agree on what is a security and what is a commodity.

4. This is why the US congress is introducing new legislation to fix the situation, and the rest of the world is moving to put clear rules in place to support this technology.

Instead of publishing a clear rule book, the SEC has taken a regulation by enforcement approach that is harming America. So if we need to avail ourselves of the courts to get clarity, so be it.

Btw, in case it’s not obvious, the Coinbase suit is very different from others out there – the complaint filed against us is exclusively focused on what is or is not a security.  And we are confident in our facts and the law.

We'll get the job done. In the meantime, let's all keep moving forward and building as an industry. America will get this right in the end.

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A day after the SEC sued Binance - the world's largest crypto exchange - Bloomberg reports that Gensler and his anti-crypto goons have now sued Coinbase in federal court in New York on Tuesday, alleging the crypto firm broke US securities rules, claiming the exchange is acting as an unregistered broker.

“We allege that Coinbase, despite being subject to the securities laws, commingled and unlawfully offered exchange, broker-dealer, and clearinghouse functions,” Gensler said in a statement.

"Coinbase's alleged failures deprive investors of critical protections, including rulebooks that prevent fraud and manipulation, proper disclosure, safeguards against conflicts of interest, and routine inspection by the SEC," he added.

The regulator alleged that the Coinbase, the largest US crypto platform, evaded regulations by letting users trade numerous crypto tokens that were actually unregistered securities.

The SEC also accused Coinbase on Tuesday of breaking the agency’s rules with its “staking” service.

Coinbase itself said as such in the past, and analysts have been worried for months over the prospect, because the broker relies heavily on altcoin trading and staking as sources of revenue and future growth.

So what changed at the SEC since COIN's IPO was approved by the SEC?

Political pressure? Surely not?

The exchange revealed in March that the regulator had sent it a so-called Wells notice, a warning the agency may sue the exchange.

"We observe that several of the details of the lawsuit that the commission filed against Binance echo those it previously filed against crypto exchanges Bittrex and Kraken, and we believe these cases in aggregate represent a preview of the action that is likely to be filed against Coinbase," Berenberg analyst Mark Palmer wrote in a Monday note.

Earlier in the day - before the SEC headlines - Barrons reported that Coinbase risks a revenue hit of more than 30% if it suffers a similar fate to crypto exchange Binance, analysts warn.

"The recent developments and content of the SEC complaint vs. Binance make us believe that over 30% of Coinbase business may be at risk," Dan Dolev, an analyst at Mizuho Securities said.

COIN shares are plunging in the pre-market on the news, extending losses from Binance headlines yesterday...

And Bitcoin (and the rest of the crypto-verse) are also lower (but notably not very much for now)...

Bitcoin is holding in for now...

It appears the war on crypto just turned 'hot'.

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Read the full complaint below: