The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has turned down Coinbase’s plea for a distinct regulatory framework tailored to the cryptocurrency industry. In a letter addressed to Coinbase’s chief legal officer, Paul Grewal, the SEC firmly denied the request, stating it as “currently unwarranted.”

Chair Gary Gensler expressed support for the decision, emphasizing the sufficiency of existing laws and regulations in governing the crypto sphere. He highlighted the SEC’s ongoing role in regulating the industry through rulemaking, underscoring the agency’s need to maintain control over its regulatory agenda and resource allocation. Gensler reiterated the importance of engaging with the SEC, referencing a significant noncompliance incident that had detrimental financial repercussions for investors.

Reacting to the SEC’s rejection, Coinbase plans to appeal the decision, with Grewal acknowledging the industry’s complexity and the need for further clarity within the law.

This denial by the SEC arrives more than a year after Coinbase initially filed its petition, citing the absence of a functional market for digital asset securities due to regulatory ambiguities in the U.S.

The SEC’s intensified scrutiny of the crypto domain, spearheaded by Gensler, began following the collapse of FTX and subsequent actions against industry figures. The regulatory body targeted prominent entities such as Gemini, Genesis, Terraform Labs, Do Kwon, Justin Sun, Tron, Binance, and most recently, Kraken. Legal battles persist with several major players, including ongoing litigation with Binance that recently settled with the Department of Justice for multiple infractions, including anti-money-laundering violations.

Coinbase, known for its advocacy in the industry, has contested the SEC’s approach, accusing the agency of enforcement-driven regulation rather than enacting clear rules. Despite Coinbase’s objections, the SEC’s lawsuit, alleging the listing of unregistered “crypto asset securities,” remains active in the courts.


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