The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is threatening to sue cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase over some of its products.
The SEC issued Coinbase with a Wells notice, a formal declaration that SEC staff intend to recommend an enforcement action, tied to aspects of the exchange’s spot market as well as its Earn, Prime and Wallet products.
The SEC has been focusing on the crypto industry since the collapse of FTX last year and staking services like Coinbase’s Earn are under increased scrutiny for not being registered.
Recently, Kraken agreed to pay the SEC $30m in penalties and shut down its cryptocurrency staking service in the US after failing to register the program with the regulator.
The SEC also recently charged Chinese cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun with fraud and accused eight celebrities, including YouTuber Jake Paul and actress Lindsay Lohan, with illegally promoting crypto assets.
Coinbase shares fell nearly 13% to $67.33 after the Wells notice was issued. The exchange has said its services continued to operate as usual, as a Wells notice does not always result in charges or signal that the recipient has violated any law.
Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal said: “Tell us the rules and we will follow them. Give us an actual path to register, and we will register the parts of our business that need registering.”
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