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Crypto is Going Offshore Unless the US Changes Regulatory Stance: Coinbase CEO

Brian Armstrong – Chief Executive Officer of Coinbase – thinks US and UK-based cryptocurrency entities could relocate to other countries if the domestic watchdogs do not implement proper legislation on the industry. 

He also hinted that his exchange might consider such a move should the regulatory situation in the States remains the same.

‘Anything is on the Table’

According to Armstrong, the American and British authorities should enforce appropriate crypto rules to prevent the outflow of local firms to other destinations:

“This is the reason why we need clarity about legislation and regulation onshore because if the UK doesn’t have this, if the US doesn’t have this, these firms are going to be built in offshore havens.”

Brian Armstrong, Source Bloomberg

The CEO believes the infamous FTX crash in November last year had highlighted the importance of applicable crypto rules. 

He outlined that the UK has already started working in that direction, praising its efforts on “moving fast on sensible crypto regulation to both drive economic growth and consumer protection.” 

Asked whether Coinbase could shift to another country, Armstrong said that “anything is on the table, including relocation or whatever is necessary.” While he thinks the US could be a key market for the crypto industry, the current regulatory uncertainty spurs that potential:

“I think in a number of years, if we don’t see that regulatory clarity emerge in the US, we may have to consider investing more elsewhere in the world.”

Coinbase’s Issues in America

The US SEC launched an investigation last year, suspecting that some of the cryptocurrencies listed on the platform are unregistered securities. 

The Commission struck again in March this year, issuing a Wells Notice against Coinbase. The potential enforcement action could be tied to the exchange’s Earn, Prime, and Wallet products. Armstrong remained unfazed by the SEC’s charges, saying:

“While we understand that this is all part of the journey to reforming our financial system, we are right on the law, confident in the facts, and welcome the opportunity for Coinbase (and by extension the broader crypto community) to get before a court.”

Coinbase is not the only US-based crypto firm that has a conflict with the SEC. The latter probed Kraken in February this year over possible violation of rules when offering securities as staking services to American users. 

The platform terminated such offerings and paid $30 million in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.


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