The Gap Between The Crypto Industry And Regulators Has Never Been Wider

For the past five years, cryptocurrency entrepreneurs have been in fierce disagreement with U.S. regulators over an existential question: whether certain digital assets are securities, or investment contracts that need to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The stakes are high—if a cryptocurrency is deemed a security in a U.S. court, it basically dies in the American crypto ecosystem. That’s because it can’t currently be traded on any cryptocurrency exchange, since none of them has a national securities exchange license. Two weeks ago, the SEC filed a complaint in federal court asserting that nine tokens available to trade on Coinbase were securities, and the decree initially sounded like a step toward more regulatory clarity. But the SEC didn’t explain what makes the tokens different from other cryptocurrencies, and after the complaint came out, Coinbase published a blog post titled, “Coinbase Does Not List Securities. End of Story.” The episode was just the latest sign that the gap between the industry and regulators has never been bigger.

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