Coinbase, a leading cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States, is contemplating moving overseas should the U.S. fail to level the playing field with an unambiguous regulatory framework.
If Coinbase — and other crypto companies — leave because of the stifling regulations, the U.S. is bound to lose a fast-growing industry.
Leaving The United States
Coinbase chief Brian Armstrong has hinted at an overseas move.
Speaking at the Fintech Week in London, Armstrong said “Anything is on the table including relocating or whatever is necessary”, when asked by ex-U.K. Chancellor George Osbourne whether Coinbase could consider moving its headquarters away from the U.S.
Armstrong, who is embroiled in a possible lawsuit with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), says that the U.S. has the potential to be a key market for crypto but the regulatory environment is quite murky. “I think in a number of years, if we don’t see that regulatory clarity emerges in the U.S., we may have to consider investing more elsewhere in the world,” the Coinbase boss added.
Armstrong also commented on the perks of the U.K.’s clearer regulatory framework, given there is only one primary body, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which oversees both securities and commodities, unlike in the U.S. where the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the SEC are “having a turf battle”.
The crypto exec further noted that both the heads of the CFTC and the SEC oftentimes make contradictory remarks, underscoring the need for a clear rulebook.
Crypto Clampdown In The U.S.
Brian Armstrong’s threat to move overseas comes amid a vigorous crackdown on the crypto sector in the States.
Just yesterday, the SEC filed charges against Seattle-based crypto exchange Bittrex and its co-founder William Shihara for operating as an unregistered securities platform and deliberately evading regulatory scrutiny. Before that, Coinbase was hit with a Wells Notice for potential securities violations, which typically precedes an enforcement action.
And in February, Kraken reached a $30 million settlement with the SEC that required it to stop offering staking services to U.S. customers.