U.S. Senator and Crypto Communities Challenge SEC’s Lawsuit Against Coinbase


U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis, renowned crypto lobbying organizations, and distinguished academic figures have united in a landmark move. Their aim? To challenge the SEC’s controversial lawsuit against a premier crypto exchange, Coinbase.

The SEC vs. Coinbase: The Grounds

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently filed lawsuits against Coinbase and its fellow exchange, Binance (including Binance.US). They argue these platforms act as unregistered securities exchanges, brokers, and clearinghouses. These platforms, the SEC claims, trade in crypto assets that are, in essence, unregistered securities.

Coinbase isn’t standing alone. Addressing Judge Katherine Polk Failla of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, several amicus briefs mirror Coinbase’s defense arguments.

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A slew of notable names stands behind Coinbase. This includes the Blockchain Association, Crypto Council for Innovation, and Chamber of Digital Commerce. Along with prominent academics, esteemed venture firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Paradigm have also rallied in support. Six distinct briefs were filed, exclusive of Senator Lummis’s contribution.

Coinbase’s Primary Defense

Earlier, Coinbase presented a pivotal argument. They believe the transactions highlighted by the SEC do not qualify as investment contracts. Hence, they argue, there’s no breach of securities law.

Bittrex, a global exchange in the U.S., recently settled charges with the SEC. After this, Bittrex’s U.S. arm entered bankruptcy proceedings. That adds another layer to the evolving crypto-legal landscape.

Lummis’s brief sheds light on a more significant issue. The case, she believes, gives the SEC an undue influence over matters currently under Congress’s purview. Lummis emphasizes that such paramount questions should remain with Congress instead of aligning with the SEC’s ambitious view of its authority.

Many briefs referenced the case of West Virginia vs. the Environment Protection Agency. This case stated that regulatory agencies can’t overstep their mandate without Congressional sanction. However, Judge Jed Rakoff offers a different perspective. In a separate case involving Terraform Labs, he opined that the crypto world hasn’t yet attained a significance to align with those Supreme Court standards.

The Road Ahead: Congressional Action

Broad crypto regulation remains in limbo. Recent House Financial Services and Agriculture Committees efforts have sought to streamline market structures. Yet, the broader House hasn’t acted on these bills. With an evenly split Senate, the fate of such legislation remains uncertain.

Lummis’s brief highlighted an essential detail. Lawmakers, including Lummis and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, have proposed bills to delineate the SEC’s authority. These bills recognize that the crypto realm doesn’t entirely fit within traditional securities laws. They hint at the need for a more encompassing approach, considering global trends. As Lummis’s brief concludes, Congress is keenly aware of these critical considerations.

The debate surrounding the SEC’s jurisdiction over crypto platforms is gaining momentum. The crypto world watches keenly as U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis and other major players rally behind Coinbase. The outcome of this case will not only influence Coinbase’s future but could also shape the trajectory of crypto regulations.

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