Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, has reportedly given a mixed response about whether the cryptocurrency exchange plans to leave the United States amid regulatory uncertainty.
According to an Aug. 4 report from the Financial Times, Armstrong said Coinbase was “staying in the United States” despite many other crypto firms considering leaving the country over the potential threat of legal action from federal regulators. Coinbase currently faces a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as scrutiny from 10 state regulators, many of whom issued cease and desist orders on the exchange’s staking services.
The Coinbase CEO reportedly said leaving the U.S. was “not even in the realm of possibility right now,” and there was no “break glass plan” — likely referring to what the exchange would do in an emergency. However, at a fintech event in London in April, Armstrong reportedly said the exchange might consider relocating its headquarters from the U.S. to a more crypto-friendly country due to the lack of regulatory clarity. He later told shareholders Coinbase was “100% committed” to the U.S. market in the long term.
Met with the SEC today. We’ll continue pushing for a clear rule book in the U.S. for crypto regs.
The U.S. can’t afford to fall behind on this important technology to update the financial system.
Also important for regulators to set policy and THEN enforce it. Not start with… pic.twitter.com/EaPD7wDbSx
— Brian Armstrong ️ (@brian_armstrong) April 21, 2023
The SEC filed a lawsuit against Coinbase on June 6, roughly three months after the exchange received a Wells notice from the federal regulator for allegedly offering unregistered securities. Coinbase’s legal team filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on Aug. 4, claiming the commission had “violated due process, abused its discretion, and abandoned its own earlier interpretations of the securities laws.”
The outcome of the SEC’s case against Coinbase could have far-reaching implications for crypto firms operating in the United States. In July, a federal judge ruled in the commission’s lawsuit against Ripple that XRP (XRP) was largely not a security by SEC standards. Lawmakers and lawyers — including Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal — have already cited the ruling in defense of crypto companies.
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