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Coinbase’s one-third revenue ‘at stake’ as SEC battle faces dismissal challenges

Experts doubt a quick end to Coinbase’s battle against the SEC, citing the challenge of proving listed tokens are not securities.

The American cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is unlikely to overcome its legal challenges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) soon, as the Wall Street Journal reports that the exchange’s request for dismissal, scheduled for Jan. 17, is considered a long shot by legal and financial insiders.

Lisa Bragança, a lawyer and former SEC enforcement branch chief, stated that the case is unlikely to be dismissed, as proving that the listed assets on Coinbase’s platform are not securities would be a significant challenge for the crypto exchange.

“Coinbase is saying that the types of coins it lists on its platform are not securities, and that is going to be very hard for them to prove.” Lisa Bragança

Mizuho Securities analyst Dan Dolev emphasized that nearly one-third of Coinbase’s revenue is “at stake,” as a negative outcome for the exchange might result in a separation of its services. As of press time, Coinbase offers multiple services, including trading, staking, and holding assets in custody. It also serves as the custodian for eight spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and charges a fee based on the total value of the funds’ assets.

In June 2023, the financial watchdog sued Coinbase, alleging in its filing that the crypto exchange has operated in the United States without registering as a broker, national securities exchange, and clearing agency since 2019. The SEC claims that many of the assets listed on the exchange are deemed securities.

In response, Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal said the SEC’s decision to sue the exchange was “arbitrary and capricious” and an “abuse of discretion.” Coinbase appealed to U.S. courts several times to force the agency to make clear rules for the crypto industry. However, SEC Chair Gary Gensler remains firm in asserting that “existing laws and regulations apply to the crypto securities markets.”


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