Coinbase Never Received Approval to Trade Securities from SEC

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by Alexandra Sayapina · 3 min read
Coinbase Never Received Approval to Trade Securities from SEC
Photo: Shawn Orcutt / Flickr

The largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange had to walk back its claims: the company did not get official approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on the acquisition of three companies. The upcoming deal can dramatically expand the range of services provided by Coinbase and ensure its market domination – in case it goes through.

Coinbase is one of the leading crypto exchanges, and its influence on the crypto sphere may increase in the near future as it completes the acquisition of three companies: Keystone Capital Corp., Venovate Marketplace Inc., and Digital Wealth LLC. As previously reported by CoinSpeaker, Coinbase made a statement on the approval of this deal from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the 16th of July. But two days later the company retraced this statement.

The largest crypto exchange in the U.S. decided to become one of the first crypto broker-dealers to offer SEC-regulated blockchain-based securities. The official announcement came out on the 6th of June and mentioned the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as oversighting regulators.

The story continued its quick development and in little more than a month Coinbase confirmed the authorization of the upcoming acquisition by both SEC and FINRA. The word came out – and the spokesman of Coinbase Rachael Horwitz hastened to reverse the statement.

Horwitz sent an official email to Bloomberg saying that “it is not correct to say that the SEC and FINRA approved Coinbase’s purchase of Keystone because SEC was not involved in the approval process.” The Coinbase spokesman also added that “the SEC’s approval is not required for the change of control application. Coinbase has discussed aspects of its proposed operations, including the acquisition of the Keystone Entity, on an informal basis with several members of SEC staff.”

It is quite significant that the reaction of the regulators turned out to be different. The representatives of SEC confirmed the fact that no official approval endorsement was given to Coinbase on the deal. FINRA, for its turn, declined to give any comments on the situation.

The controversial statements of Coinbase can do a disservice to the leading crypto exchange. The crypto sphere is still young and shifts in market power are likely to happen. Coinbase is not the only company seeking to expand its services. Circle Internet Financial Ltd is also trying to get the same licenses with U.S. regulators.

The new status of fully-registered and regulated crypto broker-dealer opens up lots of opportunities to expand the offer of services. The pioneers in this sphere will get a significant market advantage that can shape the destiny of the company. No wonder Coinbase is trying to complete the purchase of these companies as soon as possible – and the rapid development of the deal causes some mistakes.

Coinbase wants to get licenses, but that does not mean that this is the only goal for the company. The platform continues its development: it adds support for the trading of five more cryptocurrencies. This decision also raises a number of regulatory restrictions.

The issues of trust, brand and reputation are crucial for the crypto sphere. This time Coinbase seems to get off with a slap on the wrist, but this deal means too much for the company to make new mistakes. Coinbase better learn the lesson.

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