The SEC can sue Coinbase for offering unregistered securities, judge rules


The question of who gets to regulate crypto has some answers, as a judge has ruled the Securities and Exchange Commission’s securities lawsuit against Coinbase can continue. US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla ruled that under federal securities laws, “the SEC has sufficiently pleaded that Coinbase operates as an exchange, as a broker, and as a clearing agency under the federal securities laws, and, through its Staking Program, engages in the unregistered offer and sale of securities.”

Despite arguments from some in the crypto community that existing laws are inadequate, the judge rejected those claims directly, writing, “The ‘crypto’ nomenclature may be of recent vintage, but the challenged transactions fall comfortably within the framework that courts have used to identify securities for nearly eighty years.”

While the judge ruled against most of Coinbase’s attempts to have the case dismissed, she found the SEC’s arguments “fall short of demonstrating that Coinbase acts as a ‘broker’ by making Wallet available to customers” and dismissed the SEC’s claim against that part of its service.

In response to the ruling, Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal tweeted, “Early motions like ours against a government agency are almost always denied. But clarity is the ultimate goal and today’s decision continues us on that path.”





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