CZ, Jack Dorsey React to Coinbase and Binance Lawsuits

In response to the Coinbase lawsuit, CZ tweeted, “If you have to pick a fight with everyone, maybe you are the one at fault”

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

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With Coinbase joining Binance as the second cryptocurrency heavyweight sued by the SEC in roughly 24 hours, the industry is reeling.

And industry participants on Tuesday were amping up their efforts to digest the content — and the implications — of both landmark legal actions. 

The SEC this week claimed that both Binance and Coinbase have been operating unregistered exchanges and listing a number of individual tokens the regulator has deemed unregistered securities

“But while paying lip service to its desire to comply with applicable laws, Coinbase has for years made available for trading crypto assets that are investment contracts under the Howey test and well-established principles of the federal securities laws,” the SEC claims.

Binance’s CEO, who took to Twitter on Monday after his company was served with the suit, was quick to play to the court of crypto public opinion in responding to the SEC’s suit against rival Coinbase. 

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao tweeted, “If you have to pick a fight with everyone, maybe you are the one at fault.” 

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In expounding upon the Coinbase suit, SEC Commissioner Gary Gensler via Twitter early on Tuesday doubled down on his agency’s legal opinion regarding Binance from the day prior. 

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Gensler also agreed to interviews on both CNBC and Bloomberg scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Jack Dorsey, in a tweet on Monday, seemingly projected cryptocurrency industry support on the heels of the SEC’s 136-page lawsuit against Binance, the exchange’s US affiliate, and founder Zhao. Dorsey, the chief executive of Block, has been a vocal advocate of cryptocurrencies — especially bitcoin. 

Dorsey tweeted, “Steady lads.”

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Dan Raju, CEO of fintech company Tradier, told Blockworks that greater and clearer crypto regulation by the SEC is long overdue.  

“The latest move by the SEC indicates that over time crypto offerings will be regulated and controlled similar to the traditional stack of participants in the equities market,” he said. “I also believe that while in the short run they may have an impact on crypto prices, it will only create retail confidence on crypto in the long term.”

Prior to the SEC’s latest move against Coinbase, Paul Grewal, the exchange’s chief legal officer, laid out his ideal framework for more clear rules and regulations around digital assets. Coinbase has repeatedly asked the SEC for updated digital asset guidance. 

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Grewal is set to appear before the House Committee on Agriculture to discuss the Digital Asset Market Structure Discussion Draft Tuesday morning.

Kristin Smith of The Blockchain Association was unimpressed with the latest salvo from the SEC, noting that the regulator doesn’t “make the law – it only makes accusations.”

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Did the SEC give “Binance some slack?”

Traders this week have once again been asking why Coinbase was even allowed to go public in 2021 — considering that the SEC claims that it’s been offering the sale of unregistered securities as well as operating as an unregistered broker since 2019. 

“In fact, by suing Coinbase they pretty much just gave Binance some slack to win against their lawsuit as well; since they can just delay until Coinbase finishes and then cite Coinbase’s case,” @WolfOfPoloniex tweeted.

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Crypto analyst Miles Deutscher had similar concerns, tweeting, “So you’re telling me that the SEC let an ‘unregistered broker’ IPO – after carrying out due diligence?”

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After receiving a Wells notice from the SEC in March, Coinbase said it would defend itself against a regulator it says is going beyond its authority.  

CEO Brian Armstrong said in a Twitter Space soon after the Wells notice that the courts might be able to offer clarity on this matter. 

Coinbase dropped its net loss to $79 million during the first quarter — down from $557 million in the last three months of 2022 — as it sought to reel in spending. The company said it expected costs to rise in the second quarter, in part due to legal expenses.

Ben Strack contributed reporting.

Updated June 6, 2023 at 10:21 am ET: Added comment from Dan Raju, CEO of fintech company Tradier. Added comment from Kristin Smith of The Blockchain Association.


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