SEC Files Lawsuit Against Coinbase for Alleged Market Rule Violations

In a widening crackdown on the cryptocurrency market, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sued Coinbase, the largest crypto trading platform in the United States. The SEC accuses Coinbase of breaking the law by failing to register as a broker and allowing users to trade unregistered securities. This legal action comes on the heels of a similar lawsuit against Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, for mishandling funds. These moves reflect regulators’ efforts to bring greater accountability and regulation to the crypto industry.

SEC Claims Coinbase Prioritized Profits Over Compliance

The SEC’s lawsuit against Coinbase highlights the company’s alleged disregard for investor interests and compliance with securities market regulations. The filing states that Coinbase prioritized increasing profits and failed to adhere to the regulatory framework designed to protect investors and the integrity of the capital markets. Despite having knowledge of how digital asset marketing and sales should be governed under US laws, Coinbase allegedly violated these laws.

Coinbase’s Public Listing and Trading Volume: Coinbase made headlines in April 2021 when it went public, marking a significant milestone for mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies. The platform facilitated $830 billion worth of trades last year, serving nearly nine million users who made at least one trade per month.

SEC’s Allegations Against Coinbase

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, Coinbase made substantial profits from facilitating the sale of crypto assets while failing to provide investors with adequate protections. The SEC claims that Coinbase operated as an unregistered exchange, despite informing investors during its public listing that some products traded on the platform might be deemed securities by regulators. The lawsuit argues that Coinbase should have been subject to stricter oversight as a registered exchange.

Coinbase’s Position and Disagreement with the SEC

Coinbase has contended that its business model received implicit approval from the SEC when the agency greenlit its initial public offering. The company states its willingness to cooperate with the SEC but disagrees with the requirement for all digital assets on its platform to be registered securities, as it believes they should be subject to less stringent oversight.

SEC’s View on Crypto Products: The SEC’s actions against Coinbase align with its longstanding stance that most crypto products should be treated as securities, similar to stocks and bonds. Consequently, platforms providing trading services for crypto assets must register and operate under the same regulations as traditional exchanges and brokerages.

Final Thoughts

As the regulatory landscape evolves, the SEC’s lawsuits against major crypto companies like Coinbase and Binance aim to reshape the industry by subjecting digital asset exchanges to increased scrutiny and compliance measures. These actions reflect a broader effort to eliminate bad actors from the crypto sector and establish a more regulated and investor-protected market environment.

Sying Tien

Professional Trader, Social media scholar and a Crypto expert. If you have any comments, suggestions or questions feel free to contact me at and i will get back to you shortly.

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