In a June 6, 2023 press release, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Coinbase for Operating as an Unregistered Securities Exchange, Broker, and Clearing Agency and for the unregistered offer and sale of securities in connection with its staking-as-a-service program.
The SEC complaint further alleged that Coinbase commingled and unlawfully offered exchange, broker-dealer, and clearing house functions.
According to the complaint, Coinbase earned revenue unlawfully by facilitating the buying and selling of crypto asset securities without having registered with the Commission as required by law.
Furthermore, the SEC complaint stated that Coinbase was fully aware of the federal securities laws relating to its business activities but deliberately refused to follow them, thereby depriving its investors of critical protections to which they are entitled.
“You simply can’t ignore the rules because you don’t like them or because you’d prefer different ones: the consequences for the investing public are far too great,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “
On May 30, 2023, the SEC announced that Coinbase’s former product manager and his brother had agreed to settle charges related to insider trading of crypto asset securities that were subsequently listed on the platform.
Earlier in March 2023, Coinbase had been served with a Wells notice by the SEC over alleged securities violations. In April 2023, Coinbase sued the SEC requesting regulatory clarity for the crypto industry.
The Coinbase complaint follows the June 5, 2023, SEC complaint raised against Binance Entities including Binance.com; U.S.-based affiliate BAM Trading Services Inc., and Binance. US. and its founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ). The SEC’s complaint also alleged that Binance created entities to evade U.S. federal securities laws.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that since at least July 2017, Binance.com and Binance.US operated as exchanges, brokers, dealers, and clearing agencies and earned at least US$ 11.6 billion in revenue from transaction fees from U.S. customers.
Binance refuted the allegations that user assets on the Binance.US platform have ever been at risk and said that all user assets on Binance and its affiliate platforms were safe and secure.
Binance reiterated that it will continue to cooperate with regulators and policymakers and to ensure that cryptocurrency regulation fosters innovation whilst ensuring consumer protection.
The complaints against Coinbase and Binance follow others raised by the SEC against crypto entities that include BLockFi Lending, Kraken, Poloniex LLC, Terraform Labs PTE, and Ripple Labs Inc. The crypto industry can only ponder who’s next.
As per GoinGecko data, Bitcoin and Ether are trading lower (about 3.5%) in the past 24 hours, in the region of US$26,600 and US$1,870 respectively as of press time.