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SEC Considers All Crypto But One Securities: Coinbase CEO

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong revealed details about the SEC recommendation given before legal action against the crypto company

SEC Considers All Crypto But One Securities: Coinbase CEO

In a July 31 interview with the Financial Times, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong revealed that the crypto exchange was told by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to delist all cryptocurrencies on its platform except for Bitcoin.

Armstrong explained that SEC issued a recommendation before starting legal action against Coinbase for failing to register as a broker.

Although the charges were officially filed in June, the SEC has long targeted Coinbase. Thus, the crypto exchange received a preliminary Wells Notice in March 2023. Even before that, in late 2021, the SEC already threatened to sue Coinbase.

According to Coinbase CEO, the regulator addressed the exchange prior to filing a lawsuit with a request to delist nearly 250 tokens on its platform. Moreover, the SEC reportedly said it believes “every asset other than Bitcoin is a security.”

When it came to the actual lawsuit, however, only 13 cryptocurrencies traded by Coinbase were legally alleged by the SEC to be securities.

Armstrong revealed the exchange declined the request as it would mean “the end of the crypto industry in the US.” Instead, the firm started preparing for years-long court battle with SEC. The exchange also considered relocation, opening an offshore exchange in Bermudas.

The SEC denied Armstrong’s claims saying that its enforcement division did not make any formal requests for “companies to delist crypto assets”. The statement Coinbase CEO refers to might be the personal opinions of SEC staff voiced in the course of the investigation.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.