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Opinion
Lionel Laurent

Coinbase’s ‘End of Story’ Is Just the Beginning for Crypto Regulation

Crypto’s crash means it’s under increasing scrutiny.

Coinbase has become a lightning rod for crypto market regulation.

Coinbase has become a lightning rod for crypto market regulation.

Photographer: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg

A few days ago, Coinbase Global Inc.’s top lawyer issued an unequivocal rejection of the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s allegations that digital tokens it offers its customers were, in fact, unregistered securities. “Coinbase does not list securities,” Paul Grewal wrote in a blog post. “End of story.”

The end? Given the SEC has opened an investigation into Coinbase’s activities, according to Bloomberg News, this looks more like just the beginning of hard questions about crypto platforms’ business models and their future profit prospects amid a brutal market crash. Crypto’s utopian babble is about to be scrutinized in ways that are likely to fundamentally change the market for digital currencies.