Coinbase recently disclosed that it once received a directive from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to delist all cryptocurrencies on its platform, except for Bitcoin.
In an interview with the Financial Times on July 31, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong unveiled the SEC’s demand, which could have had far-reaching consequences for the crypto industry in the United States.
The SEC‘s stance aligns with Chair Gary Gensler’s assertion that “everything other than Bitcoin” is considered a security under the agency’s purview.
According to Armstrong, the SEC wanted Coinbase to delist nearly 250 tokens from its platform before filing a lawsuit against the exchange.
The regulator’s position was based on its belief that every asset, except Bitcoin, should be classified as a security. However, Coinbase disagreed with the SEC’s interpretation of the law, leading to a tense situation.
When Coinbase sought an explanation from the SEC regarding its conclusion, the regulator refused to provide one and insisted on the immediate delisting of all assets other than Bitcoin.
Had Coinbase complied with the request, it could have set a precedent that might have seriously impacted the crypto industry’s future in the United States.
The SEC sued Coinbase in early June, accusing the exchange of operating as an unregistered platform. The regulatory body also identified 13 cryptocurrencies that it considered unregistered securities offered by Coinbase. This legal action followed a similar complaint filed against Binance by the SEC.
The crypto industry’s oversight in the United States remains uncertain, with different regulators asserting their authority. Both the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the SEC have taken regulatory actions against players in the crypto space.
To address the ambiguity, legislation has been introduced that largely transfers crypto jurisdiction to the CFTC, clarifying the SEC’s role in the crypto realm.
The legislation has already passed the House Agricultural Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, aiming to provide a clearer regulatory framework for the crypto industry.