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Coinbase Threat Shows SEC Means Business

Yahoo Finance | | Sep 5, 2021

SEC Chair Gensler - Coinbase Threat Shows SEC Means Business(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler just put the cryptocurrency industry on notice of how far the regulator will to go to tame a market he’s labeled the wild west of finance.

In threatening to sue Coinbase Global Inc. if the exchange lets customers earn interest on their digital tokens, the SEC sent a warning to other firms already offering similar products or contemplating doing so. The move is the clearest sign yet that, under Gensler, the regulator will aggressively use its powers to thwart products it’s uncomfortable with -- even before they launch.

Privately, ex-SEC officials said they were shocked by the agency’s posture, which Coinbase disclosed Tuesday in a blog post. The former officials said the SEC typically waits for firms to start selling investments before announcing possible sanctions, indicating the agency has found a forceful way to shut down cutting-edge crypto offerings it fears are putting consumers at risk. Coinbase slid 3.2% to $258.20 in New York trading on news of the SEC’s pending enforcement action.

The SEC is being aggressive for the first time in a long time

“The SEC is being aggressive for the first time in a long time,” said James Cox, a professor at Duke University School of Law. “The SEC has been putting a lot of muscle into cryptocurrency. It’s a big, fast-growing market and a fertile area for abuses.”

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SEC officials declined to comment.

Coinbase’s tussle with the SEC became public when Paul Grewal, the company’s chief legal officer, said the SEC determined that Lend involved “a security, but wouldn’t say who or how they’d reached that conclusion.” Grewal added that the agency told Coinbase “that if we launch Lend they intend to sue,” prompting the company to shelve the product until at least October.

Coinbase Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong later tweeted that the SEC was engaging in “really sketchy behavior.”

The crypto exchange won support from at least one long-time SEC adversary: Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban. In a series of tweets, he urged Coinbase to fight back to prevent the agency from winning a legal ruling that allows it to assert more authority over tokens and DeFi. Cuban famously prevailed against the SEC in 2013 after it accused him of insider trading.

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Mark Cuban. In a series of tweets, he urged Coinbase to fight back to prevent the agency from winning a legal ruling that allows it to assert more authority over tokens and DeFi

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Coinbase Threat Shows SEC Means Business The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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