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SEC Faces Coinbase in a Tense Legal Tug of War

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) receives support from the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) in its legal battle against Coinbase Global Inc.

Key Takeaways

  • NASAA backs SEC in legal skirmish with Coinbase.
  • Regulatory crux: Are certain digital currencies unregistered securities?
  • NASAA contends no special treatment for digital assets.
  • Coinbase leans on prior legal precedent in its defense strategy.

In a riveting development on Wall Street, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) garnered potent support from the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) in its regulatory fracas with notable crypto exchange, Coinbase Global Inc. The NASAA has stepped into the arena as an amicus curiae, presenting a filing that seeks to dismantle Coinbase’s argument regarding digital assets and securities.

The discord between the SEC and Coinbase zeroes in on allegations positing that Coinbase facilitates the trading of digital currencies, such as Cardano (ADA), Solana (SOL), and Filecoin (FIL), which are perceived as unregistered securities by the regulatory body. The NASAA, throwing its weight behind the SEC, articulated that the digital assets under scrutiny should not be perceived as “somehow special” nor should the enforcement action be seen as “novel or extraordinary” even with a digital currency trading platform at its epicenter.

The general counsel of the NASAA underscored that the SEC’s stance in this case aligns seamlessly with its longstanding public position and firmly rests within the parameters of established law. The assertion emphasizes that securities laws should apply equitably, void of any preferential treatment, even in the fast-evolving digital asset landscape.

In a striking countermove, Coinbase is not isolating itself in its battle against the SEC’s allegations. It has tabled a Motion to Dismiss (MTD) the lawsuit, claiming an overreach by the commission in its definitions concerning what delineates a security. The crypto exchange underscores a July 13 ruling from Judge Analisa Torres in the Ripple Labs v. SEC case, highlighting that programmatic sales of the coin on secondary marketplaces are not deemed a security, forming a substantial precedent in its defensive playbook.


The ongoing legal bout between Coinbase and the SEC, with the new support from the NASAA, encapsulates a broader dialogue regarding the regulation of digital assets. The outcome of this case could steer the regulatory framework and operational modalities of crypto exchanges in the future, potentially shaping the path for how digital assets are treated under securities law. Furthermore, the global ripple effects of this verdict could recalibrate regulatory approaches and market dynamics in the burgeoning crypto arena, underscoring the necessity for a keen eye on the unfolding events in this legal tangle. This case is emblematic of the nuanced and uncharted terrains encountered in the harmonization of traditional legal structures with nascent digital asset classes, warranting vigilant observation and thoughtful discourse among stakeholders.