Breaking! Coinbase Takes Legal Action: Sues SEC and FDIC

Breaking! Coinbase Takes Legal Action: Sues SEC and FDIC
Table of Contents


  • Coinbase Legal Challenge: Coinbase has filed two lawsuits against the US SEC and FDIC, alleging excessive regulations and seeking transparency through the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Information on Ether Withheld: The dispute includes the SEC’s refusal to disclose information about Ether’s transition to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, information crucial for Coinbase to understand the regulatory landscape.
  • Privacy Concerns and Clear Regulations: Coinbase questions the FDIC’s issuance of “pause letters” to banks and the SEC’s lack of cryptocurrency-specific regulations, reflecting the crypto industry’s fight for clear regulations and fairness.

Coinbase, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, has escalated its battle against regulatory overreach by filing two lawsuits against the U.S. SEC and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The legal actions, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, aim to challenge what Coinbase perceives as unfair targeting of its operations.

Allegations of Overregulation

Coinbase alleges that both the SEC and FDIC are actively attempting to hinder the crypto industry’s access to essential banking services through excessive regulation. Seeking clarity and transparency, the exchange has invoked the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to shed light on the agencies’ actions.

SEC’s Refusal to Release Information

At the heart of Coinbase’s legal challenge lies the SEC’s refusal to disclose information related to ether (ETH) and its transition from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism.

This critical request, initially raised by Consensys in a previous lawsuit against the SEC, is essential for Coinbase to understand the regulatory landscape comprehensively.

Past Investigations and Privacy Concerns

Breaking! Coinbase Takes Legal Action: Sues SEC and FDIC

Coinbase’s complaints extend beyond the ether issue. The exchange has sought details about past investigations involving figures like Zachary Coburn and Enigma MPC, which were resolved years ago.

However, the SEC cited potential repercussions on ongoing enforcement activities as grounds for denying these requests. Coinbase contends that privacy concerns should not obscure the agency’s regulatory intent.

Coinbase’s dispute with the FDIC centers on the issuance of “pause letters” to banks, advising them to halt the expansion of crypto-related services. These actions lack transparency, contributing to uncertainty in the financial sector. Coinbase argues that such measures go beyond oversight and resemble the controversial Operation Choke Point.

Coinbase’s Ongoing Struggle for Clear Regulations

The conflict between Coinbase and the SEC has been ongoing. In April 2023, Coinbase filed a lawsuit pressing the SEC for clear crypto-specific rulemaking. Despite its efforts since July 2022, the SEC has yet to provide definitive regulations, relying instead on adapting existing rules that Coinbase believes are ill-suited for cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase’s legal battles highlight the broader frustrations within the crypto industry regarding what many describe as “regulation by enforcement.” SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s stance that most cryptocurrencies are securities has led to numerous enforcement actions against various crypto platforms. The outcome of these lawsuits could significantly impact the industry’s regulatory landscape.


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