Blockchain News

SEC Advised Coinbase to Halt Trading in Cryptocurrencies, Excluding Bitcoin, Before Legal Action

Coinbase, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange listed on Nasdaq, faced a significant setback when the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allegedly advised them to cease trading all cryptocurrencies, except for bitcoin (BTC), before taking legal action against the company. The revelation was made by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, who disclosed the SEC’s recommendation in a report by the Financial Times.

According to Armstrong, the SEC proposed this course of action to Coinbase due to the exchange’s failure to register as a broker, prompting the SEC to file charges on June 6th. The commission accused Coinbase of violating federal securities laws, alleging that the exchange was simultaneously functioning as a broker, an exchange, and a clearinghouse for unregistered securities – specifically, 13 different cryptocurrencies, except bitcoin. Coinbase strongly responded to the SEC’s action, contending that it constituted an abuse of discretion and violated due process.

The situation escalated when the SEC insisted that every asset other than Bitcoin should be considered a security, an interpretation vehemently disputed by Coinbase. Armstrong recounted that the SEC refused to elaborate on the basis for their conclusion, leaving the exchange with no alternative but to contest the matter in court.

The ongoing legal battle between Coinbase and the SEC has drawn considerable attention from the cryptocurrency community. Notably, during this dispute, Ripple, another cryptocurrency company, secured a partial victory against the SEC when the court ruled that Ripple’s XRP token was not a security.

While the SEC clarified that its enforcement division did not formally request the delisting of crypto assets, it acknowledged that during investigations, its staff might express their views on activities that may raise concerns under securities laws.

As the situation unfolds, both the SEC and Coinbase are closely scrutinized by industry participants and investors alike. As requests for comments from CoinDesk have gone unanswered by both parties, the implications of this legal battle on the cryptocurrency industry and regulatory landscape remain uncertain. The outcome of this case could potentially shape the future of cryptocurrency trading and influence how regulators approach the rapidly evolving digital asset space.


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