Coinbase’s formal petition to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requesting tailored regulations for the cryptocurrency industry has been rejected by the regulator. The SEC stated that there is no need to create a new regulatory framework for digital assets, as the existing securities regime is already sufficient. Chair Gary Gensler argued that the SEC has the authority and capability to enforce rules on crypto businesses. He also emphasized the importance of maintaining the SEC’s discretion in setting rulemaking priorities.
Coinbase had sought a response from the SEC through the courts after being sued by the agency for operating as an unregistered securities exchange. However, the SEC disagreed with Coinbase’s claim that existing securities laws are unworkable for the crypto industry. In its two-page response, the commission concluded that the requested rulemaking is currently unwarranted, denying the petition.
In response to the rejection, Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal stated that the company will challenge the SEC’s decision in court. He criticized the SEC’s decision as an abdication of its duty and called for real dialogue between the industry and regulators to create laws and rules that benefit consumers and US innovation.
Two SEC commissioners, Hester Peirce and Mark Uyeda, opposed the denial of Coinbase’s petition. They argued that the commission should continue to engage in conversations about specific rule changes, guidance, and exemptions that would support the development of the crypto industry within the United States.
While the SEC rejected Coinbase’s petition for tailored regulations, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which includes the SEC chairman, acknowledged in its annual report that Congress needs to intervene with regulations for the crypto industry.
It remains to be seen how Coinbase’s legal challenge will unfold and whether Congress will take a more active role in regulating the cryptocurrency industry. The rejection of Coinbase’s petition highlights the ongoing debate surrounding the appropriate regulatory framework for digital assets in the United States.