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Coinbase Faces Regulatory Heat as Judge Allows SEC's Lawsuit to Proceed

Finance Magnates

Cryptocoins News / Finance Magnates 23 Views

A federal judge in Manhattan has allowed the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to proceed with a lawsuit against Coinbase. While the court dismissed one of the regulator's claims, this latest decision paves the way for a potentially lengthy legal battle. The ruling marks a significant development in the ongoing regulatory scrutiny facing digital assets firms, Reuters reported.

The US District Judge Katherine Failla partly granted Coinbase's motion to dismiss the SEC's lawsuit, which accused the company of violating securities regulations. Despite this partial win, the ruling largely aligns with the SEC's approach to regulating cryptocurrency, echoing previous decisions in favor of the regulator.

Coinbase's Legal Arguments

Coinbase's Chief Legal Officer, Paul Grewal, expressed the exchange's preparedness for the ruling and reiterated its commitment to contesting the SEC's claims. Despite this setback, Coinbase has expressed optimism in its legal arguments and plans to prove its position in court.

The SEC's lawsuit against Coinbase, initiated in June, alleges that the exchange facilitated the trading of several crypto tokens that should have been registered as securities. Additionally, the SEC claims that Coinbase operated unlawfully as a national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency without proper registration.

Judge Failla's ruling allowed most aspects of the lawsuit to proceed, except for the SEC's claims that Coinbase acted as an unregistered broker through its wallet application. This legal confrontation marks a pivotal moment in the SEC's efforts to apply traditional securities laws to the rapidly evolving digital asset sector.

Implications for the Crypto Market

Central to the legal dispute is the interpretation of what constitutes security in the context of crypto assets. The SEC has relied on established legal precedents, including a US Supreme Court ruling, to determine whether certain crypto assets should be considered securities.

However, Coinbase has contended that, unlike traditional securities, cryptocurrencies do not meet the criteria of deriving returns solely from the efforts of others. Judge Failla's decision favored the SEC's argument, suggesting that some digital assets listed on Coinbase could indeed be classified as securities.

Last year, the SEC declined Coinbase Global's petition for specific regulations in the digital asset sector. Despite Coinbase's plea for these rules, citing inadequacies in current securities laws, the SEC's Chair, Gary Gensler, mentioned that the existing regulations are sufficient. He emphasized the applicability of the current laws to crypto markets.

In a letter to Coinbase's Chief Legal Officer, Gensler claimed that the current regulations are suitable for the crypto industry. Gensler stressed the adaptability of existing laws, citing the Supreme Court's Howey test, which has been effectively used to evaluate crypto assets in federal courts.

This article was written by Jared Kirui at
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