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Coinbase, XRP, Uniswap v. SEC – How exchange’s motion is ‘critical’ to crypto

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How will Coinbase’s appeal shape crypto amid SEC scrutiny and legal battles?

Coinbase v. SEC - How exchange's new motion is 'critical' to crypto

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  • Coinbase’s legal battle with the SEC highlights tension between crypto platforms and regulators
  • Disagreement over “investment contracts” shapes crypto transaction rules

In the wake of the cryptocurrency market’s bloodbath, Coinbase, one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, seems to have taken the spotlight. Marking a significant move in its ongoing legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Coinbase on 12 April filed an “interlocutory appeal” in federal court.

This highlights the increasing tension between crypto-platforms and regulators, especially concerning how digital assets are classified and regulated.

Now, as the legal contention unfolds, one prominent question emerges – What impact will this interlocutory appeal have on the broader crypto-market?

SEC’s scrutiny against Coinbase

Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer (CLO), in his latest post on X (Formerly Twitter), highlighted the pivotal issue in their dispute with the SEC. He said,

“Today @Coinbase filed a brief asking the Court’s permission to seek an interlocutory appeal in our @SECGov case on this controlling question: whether an “investment contract” requires something contractual – we think it does, the SEC disagrees.”

This disagreement is central to determining the regulatory scope of certain Coinbase transactions.

Coinbase further argues that the SEC’s use of the Howey test for cryptocurrency assets creates uncertainty about what constitutes a security. While such appeals are often unlikely to succeed, if granted, this appeal could bring the industry closer to a resolution, potentially through a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

That being said, in a recent ruling, Judge Katherine Polk Failla of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York had dealt a blow to Coinbase’s defense against the SEC. Rejecting much of Coinbase’s motion to dismiss, she found the SEC’s case “plausible,” signaling a significant challenge for Coinbase in navigating regulatory scrutiny over cryptocurrency exchanges.

SEC’s abuse of power 

According to Grewal, however,

“The SEC’s action against us and other digital asset companies goes way beyond the legal authority granted by Congress and puts an unjust cloud over US digital asset innovation.”

Additionally, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby recently took a significant step by imposing sanctions on the SEC in a lawsuit involving the DEBT Box.In doing so, it cited multiple instances of “bad faith” conduct and finding the agency guilty of a “gross abuse of power.”

This development aligns with the SEC’s ongoing legal disputes with several cryptocurrency platforms such as Ripple and its recent issuance of a Wells Notice to Uniswap Labs. These events raise questions about the SEC’s impact on the crypto-market, leaving many wondering – Is SEC threatening cryptocurrencies as a whole?


Ishika is a graduate of Political Science from the University of Delhi. From writing content as a hobby to now pursuing it as a professional career, she has been living and breathing content all her life. Her interests lie in making sure articles are very digestible to a common reader, despite all its technicalities and jargons.
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