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HomeDigital AssetsCoinbase seeks to dismiss SEC lawsuit citing new crypto laws
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Coinbase seeks to dismiss SEC lawsuit citing new crypto laws

In a closing brief filed on Friday, Coinbase said the growing divide between lawmakers and the SEC regarding the agency’s jurisdiction over cryptocurrency. “Legislators’ disagreement with the SEC’s position meanwhile has deepened: just this week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved on a bipartisan basis comprehensive digital asset legislation that would deny the SEC the expansive jurisdiction it claims,” Coinbase stated in its brief.

The legislative development referred to is the passage of the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (FIT21) by the House of Representatives. The bill, which passed with a 279-136 vote, received support from 71 Democrats, including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. FIT21 aims to grant more authority and funding to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to oversee crypto spot markets and “digital commodities,” particularly Bitcoin.

Despite the bill’s unlikely path to becoming law this year, it has been viewed by some in the crypto community as a favorable shift in the political landscape.

Coinbase’s appeal stems from a ruling by Judge Katherine Polk Failla, who rejected Coinbase’s argument that investment contracts require a formal contract. Judge Failla asserted that purchasing a token on Coinbase involves buying into the token’s “digital ecosystem,” not merely acquiring the token itself.

The core issue Coinbase seeks to appeal is whether the SEC can regulate digital asset transactions as “investment contracts” without any contractual elements involved. “Whether the SEC may regulate as ‘investment contracts’ digital asset transactions that don’t involve anything contractual,” Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal explained in a post on X.

The SEC has opposed Coinbase’s appeal motion, arguing that it should be denied. The next step involves Judge Failla deciding whether to allow the appeal request to proceed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. If granted, the Second Circuit must also agree to hear the appeal.

Meanwhile, Coinbase and its CEO, Brian Armstrong, are facing a new class-action lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.

The lawsuit alleges that Coinbase’s business model is illegal, and that the company knowingly deceived investors into buying securities, which, according to the complaint, violates state securities laws.

The plaintiffs claim that Coinbase’s digital asset sales have violated securities regulations since the company’s inception. Specifically, the suit identifies tokens like Solana (SOL), Polygon (MATIC), Near Protocol (NEAR), Decentraland (MANA), Algorand (ALGO), Uniswap (UNI), Tezos (XTZ), and Stellar Lumens (XLM) as unregistered securities.

The lawsuit comes amidst Coinbase’s ongoing legal battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which also questions whether tokens sold on the exchange should be considered securities. It alleges that the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange has violated securities laws by facilitating the trading of at least 13 crypto tokens that should have been registered as securities.

 

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