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Coinbase Enlists Legal and Political Heavyweights in Battle With SEC

On Friday, Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, made a significant announcement. The company has launched its new Global Advisory Council, which includes current and former US lawmakers. The council will provide “insights and strategic expertise” for Coinbase to help the exchange navigate an increasingly complex and evolving regulatory environment in the US and internationally.

The Coinbase Advisory Council features some political heavyweights, including former Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA), former Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), Chris Lehane from Haun Ventures, former Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), and John Anzalone of Impact Research Polling. These individuals will work alongside members of another body, the Coinbase Asset Management Academic and Regulatory Advisory Council, including former SEC Chair Jay Clayton and former CIA General Counsel Courtney Elwood.

The announcement comes as Coinbase is amid a legal showdown with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Coinbase received a Wells notice from the SEC in March, warning of a pending lawsuit over securities law breaches. In response, Coinbase publicly asked for a reply to its petition for rulemaking, aiming to establish appropriate regulation for digital assets. The exchange hopes that clarity from the SEC will allow it to challenge the regulatory body in court on concrete grounds.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has been vocal about his frustration with the SEC and its approach to the digital asset industry. In an interview with CNBC earlier this week, Armstrong accused SEC Chair Gary Gensler of taking an “anti-crypto view for some reason” and of creating “lawsuits” that are “quite unhelpful for the industry in the US writ large.” Armstrong believes that the clarity gained from a court ruling in Coinbase’s favor would benefit the entire crypto industry and the US more broadly.

Coinbase’s legal battle with the SEC has garnered support from the US Chamber of Commerce, which filed an amicus brief to support the exchange last month. In brief, the Chamber of Commerce accused the SEC of deliberately causing uncertainty to stifle the growth of the digital assets industry. “This regulatory chaos is by design, not happenstance,” the brief stated.

The launch of the Coinbase Advisory Council marks a significant step for the exchange as it seeks to navigate an increasingly complex and challenging regulatory landscape. With support from high-profile individuals and organizations, Coinbase is well-positioned to continue its fight for clarity and appropriate regulation for the digital asset industry.


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