Coinbase walks away with Supreme Court victory in arbitration case

Paul Grewal tweeted that Coinbase is ‘grateful’ for the Supreme Court’s decision

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Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong | Source: TechCrunch "775208327GB00107_TechCrunch" (CC license)

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The Supreme Court sided with Coinbase in a 5-4 ruling that reinforces arbitration. 

The case was argued back in March, and is part of the October 2022-2023 Supreme Court term. In March, the Justices were divided on the case.

Justice Kavanaugh, who delivered the opinion, said, “When a federal district court denies a motion to compel arbitration, the losing party has a statutory right to an interlocutory appeal.”

Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s chief legal officer, tweeted that Coinbase is “grateful to the Supreme Court of its careful review. Another example of why I believe in the American court system.”

“The rule of law is sometimes slow, and at times disappointing. But it remains our last, best hope in an imperfect democracy,” he continued.

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Coinbase v. Bielski sought to allow Coinbase to halt customer lawsuits while the crypto company moved them out of the court and into private arbitration. 

It stems from a class action suit filed by Bielski, on behalf of Coinbase users, which alleges that Coinbase “failed to replace funds fraudulently taken from the users’ accounts.”

According to the original plaintiff, a scammer pretending to be a PayPal representative accessed his Coinbase account and drained it of roughly $31,000. However, Coinbase’s customer service caused a “nightmare” because the bots did not have the responses or ability to help the situation. 

The Supreme Court case is not the only legal battle Coinbase currently faces. It has two open cases with the SEC — one is Coinbase v. SEC which seeks to force the SEC to provide clear regulations for the crypto industry. Then there’s the SEC v. Coinbase, in which the regulatory agency accuses Coinbase of operating an unregistered exchange and listing and selling unregistered securities.


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