Coinbase files new request for regulatory clarity from US SEC

Coinbase takes legal action as US Securities and Exchange Commission continues to refuse to draft clear rules for the crypto industry.

Coinbase is taking legal action against the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over its continued refusal to draft clear rules for the crypto industry.

In a filing in the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Monday, Coinbase’s legal team sought clarity from the regulator on why it believes that existing regulation is sufficient and how the crypto industry can comply.

“The SEC demands that the industry comply with inapplicable, inapt and still-evolving securities-law requirements or else join the many companies now facing enforcement actions – including Coinbase, “it said.

“Yet the SEC refuses to conduct the rulemaking needed to set stable standards, to show how it believes compliance with those irrelevant requirements is even possible and to provide a path to do so.”

Coinbase first requested clarity on SEC’s crypto rules in 2022, formally petitioning the regulator to create and disseminate clear regulations for crypto.

The regulator said in December 2023 that there was no need for specifically tailored regulation around crypto and that its enforcement action to date was justified by the existing securities regime.

“The commission disagrees with the petition’s assertion that application of existing securities statutes and regulations to crypto asset securities, issuers of those securities, and intermediaries in the trading, settlement, and custody of those securities is unworkable,” the regulator commented at the time.

The latest legal action aims to either force the SEC to embark on new crypto rulemaking via a federal circuit court judgement, or for the judge to request the regulator explains its position more clearly.

The latest legal action is separate, although relevant, to ongoing proceedings against Coinbase by the SEC in which the crypto exchange is accused of being an unregistered exchange that unlawfully lists unregistered crypto securities. 

Meanwhile, the SEC is looking at an overhaul of the way that exchanges are defined, which would cover crypto platforms, and other measure that seek to bring crypto and defi under the existing regulatory umbrella.

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Written by Hannah

Hannah is editor of and has almost 15 years experience in journalism, including reporting on law, TV, gambling, crypto and alternative finance. She is particularly interested in the future of money, the transition of gambling from 'vice' industry to mainstream entertainment and the application of blockchain technology to wider society.

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