The Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly investigating Coinbase Global Inc. over whether it has allowed the trading of unregistered securities. Bloomberg News reported late Monday that regulatory scrutiny has increased since Coinbase expanded the number of digital tokens it offers for trading. The report said the investigation predates a separate probe into alleged insider trading, in which a former Coinbase manager was charged last week.
The same basic issue appears to be at the root of both cases: The SEC claims some cryptocurrencies offered by Coinbase are securities, while the company says they are not. Last week, the SEC claimed nine digital assets traded by by Coinbase are actually securities. “Coinbase does not list securities. End of story,” Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal said in a statement last week. Coinbase allows trading for more than 150 digital tokens, many far less well known than the likes of bitcoin
According to Bloomberg, if those tokens were to be declared securities, Coinbase would have to register with the SEC as an exchange. Coinbase shares
are down about 73% year to date as the wider crypto market has crashed, compared to the S&P 500’s
17% decline in 2022.