By David Jolly. March 27, 2023. (Bloomberg Law).
The SEC’s decision to target Coinbase Global Inc. for enforcement actions sets the stage for a protracted legal battle that threatens the top US crypto exchange and potentially the entire US digital assets sector, legal and industry analysts say.
Coinbase revealed last week that the Securities and Exchange Commission had served it with a Wells Notice, a notification that the agency is planning to recommend enforcement action for alleged securities law violations. Already reeling from its increasing exclusion from the traditional financial system, the US crypto industry sees the Coinbase action as a signal that the SEC—and its determined chairman, Gary Gensler—intend to regulate the industry out of business.
“It is hard to look at what’s happening at the federal regulatory level and not see it’s an existential threat,” said Sheila Warren, CEO of the Crypto Council for Innovation. “Between challenges around obtaining basic banking services, making payroll, to open hostility from this SEC, operating in the US is not for the faint of heart.”