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Coinbase Exchange Retracts SEC Approval Announcement, Claims It Never Needed Approval for Acquisitions


In an update to Monday’s story in which leading U.S. exchange, Coinbase Inc., claimed to have received SEC and FINRA approval to go forward with three acquisitions that would effectively allow the exchange to act as a broker dealer for digital coins deemed securities, the San Francisco-based company is now claiming that it received no such approval. This is because the acquisitions never involved the SEC in the first place.

“It is not correct to say that the SEC and FINRA approved Coinbase’s purchase of Keystone because SEC was not involved in the approval process,” Coinbase spokeswoman Rachael Horwitz said in an email to Bloomberg on Tuesday.

Horowitz went on to say that “the SEC’s approval is not required for the change of control application. Coinbase has discussed aspects of its proposed operations, including the acquisition of the Keystone Entity, on an informal basis with several members of SEC staff.”

Today’s comments are an abrupt turnaround from statements made on Monday, in which another Coinbase spokesperson claimed that the SEC was involved in the approval process. Many in the cryptocurrency space took this to mean that security tokens would soon be arriving on the platform.

Based on today’s comments, however, Coinbase users may indeed be able to trade security tokens sometime in the future, but there are more steps required before security tokens will be made available.

“Being approved to take ownership of these licensed entities is one more step toward our ultimate goal of allowing our customers to trade securities tokens on our platform,” said another Coinbase spokesperson, Elliott Suthers, in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. “There are many more steps and conversations needed with regulators before this journey’s complete.”

The SEC indicated earlier last month that the vast majority of cryptocurrencies are likely to be classified as securities. As a result, whether or not Coinbase succeeds in their “ultimate goal” will likely have large ramifications for the cryptocurrency industry.

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