Coinbase CEO says SEC’s notice wasn’t entirely unexpected

  • Coinbase disclosed a Wells Notice from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • A Wells Notice usually comes before an enforcement action.
  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong says the company isn’t surprised with the SEC’s move.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has commented on the company’s announcement that it had received a Wells Notice from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), saying via Twitter Spaces that the exchange wasn’t entirely surprised at the regulator’s action.

Coinbase had 30 meetings with SEC, without feedback

As reported on CNBC on Friday morning, Armstrong and other executives say they had engaged with the SEC before.

Over a series of 30 meetings in the last nine months, we met with the SEC and shared details of the business and answered every question,” the Coinbase CEO said.

According to Armstrong, Coinbase spent millions of dollars in legal fees as they tried to explain everything about its business, including digital asset listings and staking rewards. He added that the SEC did not provide feedback over the nine months, noting that the agency cancelled, at the last minute, a meeting it had set up for that purpose.

That was the first feedback we got in 30 meetings. The day before that meeting they cancelled the meeting [and] we didn’t know why. And then a few weeks later – boom, we get served with the Wells Notice,” he added.

On Thursday, Armstrong tweeted that the SEC reviewed Coinbase’s business and approved its IPO. 

Coinbase stock plummets 

The Wells Notice is a signal that the securities regulator is considering enforcement action against the largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange. Accordingly, investor reaction to the news saw the publicly-listed company’s shares plunge to lows of $61.87.

The Coinbase stock was down nearly 15% over the past five days.

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