The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a lawsuit against Coinbase, accusing the popular cryptocurrency platform of violating market rules. The lawsuit alleges that Coinbase conducted a “proprietary trading program” without registering as a broker-dealer as required by law. Furthermore, the SEC claims that Coinbase provided misleading information to investors about the program and the firm’s ability to execute trades. The suit seeks unspecified monetary penalties and an injunction against Coinbase’s continued operation of the program. The news sent Coinbase’s stocks tumbling by 12%.
This isn’t the first time the SEC has targeted a cryptocurrency platform. In recent years, the agency has brought a number of cases against companies operating in the industry. These actions are part of a broader effort by regulators to bring the nascent digital currency market under their purview.
In response to the suit, Coinbase issued a statement saying that it had been cooperating with the SEC’s investigation and that it believes it has operated within the law. The company added that it intends to “vigorously defend ourselves against these baseless allegations.”
The lawsuit is just the latest headache for Coinbase, which has been under scrutiny from authorities in recent weeks. Last month, the company’s CEO, Brian Armstrong, revealed that he had been warned by the SEC that the agency was preparing to sue the company over its proposed lending program. Coinbase subsequently shelved the program, but the incident drew attention to the regulatory uncertainty that continues to surround the cryptocurrency industry.
It remains to be seen how the lawsuit will play out, but one thing is clear: regulators are closely monitoring the cryptocurrency market and are willing to take aggressive action against companies that they perceive to be violating the rules. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be important for companies to carefully navigate the complex regulatory landscape to avoid running afoul of regulators.