Coinbase disputes SEC’s crypto authority in final bid to toss regulator’s suit

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Niamh Kavanagh
Niamh Kavanagh
Niamh Kavanagh is a social media and digital marketing expert, CMO of Dream Machine Foundation, and storyteller with a purpose. She grew Dream Machine to 8M followers and edited videos that raised $750K for charity, earning attention from Oprah, Steve Harvey, and Khloe Kardashian.

Coinbase says the SEC’s definition of an investment contract isn’t in line with U.S. securities laws.

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Coinbase disputes SEC’s crypto authority in final bid to toss regulator’s suit

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission overstepped its authority when it classified Coinbase-listed cryptocurrencies as securities, the exchange has argued in its final bid to dismiss a lawsuit by the securities regulator.

In an Oct. 24 filing in a New York District Court, Coinbase chastised the SEC, claiming its definition for what qualifies as a security was too wide and contested that the cryptocurrencies the exchange lists are not under the regulator’s purview.

“The SEC’s authority is limited to securities transactions. Not every parting of capital with a hope of gain qualifies, and trades over Coinbase are only securities transactions if they involve ‘investment contracts.’ The transactions at issue here do not.”

Coinbase claimed the SEC has undertaken a “radical expansion of its own authority” and claimed jurisdiction “over essentially all investment activity,” which only Congress is entitled to do under the major questions doctrine.

In an Oct. 24 X post, Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal echoed the claims, saying the SEC’s definitions have “no limiting function at all.”

By arguing that any purchase in which the buyer hopes for an increase in value constitutes an investment contract-and therefore a security-the SEC is attempting a radical expansion of its own authority. Only Congress can do that as the major questions doctrine makes clear. 2/3

— paulgrewal.eth (@iampaulgrewal) October 24, 2023

Coinbase’s recent filing comes in response to the SEC’s Oct. 3 rebuttal where it asked the court to reject Coinbase’s dismissal motion, iterating its belief that various cryptocurrencies Coinbase listed were investment contracts under the Howey test.

Related: Securities regulators oppose special treatment of crypto in Coinbase case

The SEC sued Coinbase on June 6, claiming the exchange violated U.S. securities laws by listing several tokens it considers securities and not registering with the regulator.

Coinbase filed the motion for judgment on June 29 arguing the SEC was abusing its power and violating Coinbase’s due process rights.

Judge Katherine Polk Failla, who oversees the case, may ask Coinbase and the SEC to appear in court for oral arguments and then issue judgment on the case, dismiss it, or move for it to be heard in front of a jury.

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