The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a lawsuit against New York-based crypto exchange Coinbase for offering unregistered securities.
The SEC lawsuit alleged that Coinbase has never registered as a broker, national securities exchange or clearing agency, evading the disclosure scheme for securities markets. The SEC alleges that several tokens offered by the crypto exchange, including Solana (SOL), Cardano (ADA), Polygon (MATIC), Filecoin (FIL), The Sandbox (SAND), Axie Infinity (AXS), Chiliz (CHZ), Flow (FLOW), Internet Computer (ICP), Near (NEAR), Voyager Token (VGX), Dash (DASH) and Nexo (NEXO) qualify as securities.
The lawsuit further alleges that Coinbase has operated as an unregistered security broker since 2019, almost two years before its initial public offering in April 2021.
The lawsuit alleges that Coinbase’s staking program includes five stackable crypto assets, making the staking program an investment contract and, therefore, a security. Coinbase was already fighting a staking battle with the SEC, claiming its staking products do not qualify as securities despite Kraken previously settling with the SEC and winding down its staking services in the United States.
SEC chief Gary Gensler while addressing the latest Coinbase lawsuit said that the crypto exchange allegedly deprived its customers of critical protections that prevent fraud and manipulation, and avoided proper disclosure, and safeguards against conflicts of interest.
, “As alleged in our complaint, Coinbase was fully aware of the applicability of the federal securities laws to its business activities, but deliberately refused to follow them,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
Coinbase share price dropped by 15% in pre-trading after SEC announced its lawsuit on June 6.
The SEC lawsuit against Coinbase comes just a day after the securities regulator sued Binance for violating securities law and comingling customer’s funds. While Binance was charged with 13 counts of violations under various securities laws, the allegations against Coinbase have puzzled many in the crypto industry primarily because Coinbase is a publicly listed company,
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao also took to Twitter to react to the Coinbase lawsuit and took a dig at the SEC.
Many in the crypto community questioned how Coinbase was allowed to go public in 2021 when it has been operating as an unregistered security broker. One crypto influencer that goes by the Twitter name of The Wolf said, SEC suing Coinbase could cut some slack for Binance as well.
Cointelegraph reached out to Coinbase to get the comments on the recent allegations in the lawsuit but didn’t get a response at press time.
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