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United States Appeal Court Rules Against SEC in Coinbase Case

The United States court has ruled in favor of Coinbase, in a lawsuit alleging that it violated securities laws by facilitating the trading of cryptocurrencies classified as securities. The plaintiffs claimed that Coinbase should be held accountable for permitting the trading of these securities on its platform without proper registration or compliance with securities regulations.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that secondary market sales of cryptocurrencies are not securities. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed these claims in its decision, concluding that cryptocurrencies traded on secondary markets do not meet the criteria for securities as specified by the securities regulations

The court stressed that, rather than its later trading activity on secondary markets, determining whether an asset qualifies as a security is based on the particular features and circumstances surrounding its issue and sale.

Implication of Ruling Explained, Coinbase Moves to Eliminate Regulatory Burden

By this judgement, the decision eliminates a major regulatory burden and potential liability for exchanges like Coinbase. The decision provides clarity and legal consistency regarding the regulatory handling of cryptocurrencies in the secondary market, which has wider ramifications for the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.


Since the Second Circuit Court’s ruling has set a clear precedent, bitcoin exchanges and other market players can operate with more assurance that their operations are exempt from securities laws.

Henceforth, exchanges and other market players are no longer subject to the regulatory restrictions imposed by securities laws, and the decision may lead to more innovation and investment in the cryptocurrency field.

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Brian Armstrong Applauds Court Decision, Says it’s Victory for Entrepreneurship

The court decision does not absolve cryptocurrencies from securities laws in general. Qualities that determines this security are listed as: expectations of investors, the cryptocurrency’s distribution strategy, as well as its underlying structure. If they satisfy the requirements set forth by regulators, cryptocurrencies sold through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) or token sales might be governed by securities regulations.

Coinbase and other cryptocurrency exchanges have praised the decision in response to the order, highlighting how crucial legal clarity and regulatory consistency are to the sector. Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, praised the decision as a “victory for innovation and entrepreneurship,” adding that it would allow Coinbase to provide for its clients and foster the expansion of the bitcoin industry.

 Varinder Singh, an analyst with CoinGape, wrote that the ruling lays the foundation for future growth and innovation by reaffirming that secondary market sales of cryptocurrencies are not securities, giving exchanges, investors, and other market participants much-needed clarity and assurance.

Coinbase and SEC Officials Comments on the Court Judgement 

Paul Grewal, the Chief Legal Officer (CLO) at Coinbase, posted on his X handle that his company gained clarity in the United States Court of Appeals. Coincidentally, this is the same Second Circuit in the Manhattan court building, where the SEC and Ripple are also having their case debated.

According to Grewal, it has been clarified under the federal securities law that private liabilities for trading secondary digital assets on the Coinbase platform don’t exist. The court also affirmed Coinbase’s claims that there are no existing investment contracts as previously claimed by the SEC when they’d accused them of engaging in sales of secondary tokens.

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While commenting on the SEC and Ripple’s case, John Reed, former SEC official, recounted that  Judge Failla failed to consider Judge Torres during the ruling that the company’s secondary sales should not be an investment contract. He said the decision had landed a major blow on Ripple and Coinbase.

SEC referenced Sections 5, 12(a)(1) during the court session to assert its claim. It also pointed out #15 of the Securities Act of 1933, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, citing Sections 5, 15(a)(1), and extended it to 20(a) cum 29(b). Meanwhile, the commission also presented state law to the court, involving of New Jersey, Florida, and California securities laws.

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Brenda Collins

Brenda Collins is a seasoned crypto news writer with a deep passion for blockchain technology and its transformative potential. With years of experience in the industry, she has honed her skills in delivering concise and insightful analysis, making complex concepts accessible to a wide audience. Brenda's dedication to staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the crypto world ensures her readers receive accurate and timely information.

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