By Brady Dale and Crystal Kim. July 25, 2022. (Axios).
The Department of Justice yesterday announced the arrests of three people in relation to insider trading on privileged information that belonged to Coinbase, the leading crypto exchange in the U.S. (No doubt, as a reader of this newsletter, you know this already.)
- But also: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought a civil suit against the three for insider trading of unregistered securities.
- There’s lots of subtext, Brady writes.
Driving the news: Nine cryptocurrencies were named as securities in the SEC’s case, out of 25 that Justice and the SEC said were traded using privileged information.
- More on each in the next section of this newsletter.
Why it matters: What is or isn’t a security (as opposed to a commodity) has been the central question for cryptocurrency companies aiming to operate in compliance with U.S. law and regulation.
- Securities have onerous rules around who can own and trade them such that they would be of little use in a startup’s product.
- Blockchain startups would prefer a way to go to market that didn’t amount to saying “YOLO,” launching and waiting to see if they get sued.