Coinbase chief legal officer expects new crypto laws to come in wake of SEC lawsuits

The exchange has no plans to delist assets alleged as securities in SEC case

Coinbase, the second largest crypto exchange globally, is pushing for regulatory clarity in the crypto ecosystem, even as it’s fighting some legal battles of its own.

The SEC sued Coinbase for securities laws violations on Tuesday, just one day after the SEC sued Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange.

In April, the SEC issued a Wells notice to Coinbase, in a “preliminary determination” to recommend that the agency file an enforcement action against the company for alleged “violations of the federal securities law.”

Leading the charge is Coinbase’s chief legal officer Paul Grewal, who himself was busy this week testifying before Congress.

The SEC listed 13 cryptocurrencies as securities in Coinbase’s suit, but the agency noted it was “not limited to” those. Even with the case up in the air, the exchange has “no plans to delist any of these assets,” Grewal said.

Separately, on Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit gave the SEC a deadline to respond to Coinbase to clarify its stance on a rule-making petition that Coinbase asked for in July 2022.

TechCrunch+ sat down with Grewal to learn more about the company’s operations going forward, how it plans to deal with the legal process, its level of confidence amid the crackdown, and plans for best and worst case scenarios.

(Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

How long will the legal process potentially take with the SEC, and how far is Coinbase willing to go?

The legal process is important to understand because there’s actually several legal processes happening at once. Focusing on the SEC case against Coinbase, that’s really only going to be up to the court, which will preside over this case.

It’s unfortunately the reality that in many cases, courts take many months or even years to resolve the dispute between the parties. But I’m hopeful and confident we’re going to get to a resolution here sooner rather than later. Only because we believe the issues here are actually fairly straightforward relative to some of the other cases that were brought by the SEC in recent months and years.

There’s a separate case, though, that’s going on that I think is equally important to pay attention to, which is a case that Coinbase brought against the SEC asking the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to order the SEC to answer our petition for rulemaking that we filed last July. And in that case, just [Tuesday], hours after the SEC filed its suit, the Third Circuit on its own issued an order to the SEC to explain whether it had in fact reached a decision on rules for crypto and if not when a decision would be coming.

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