Breaking: Coinbase Cleared to List Crypto Securities, Act as an Investment Advisor and Operate as a Broker-Dealer
Update: Coinbase has revised its original statements regarding regulatory approval to list tokenized securities. Apparently, the SEC was not part of the approval process, as Bloomberg originally reported, based on a statement from Coinbase. TechCrunch reports, “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,” a Coinbase spokesperson said. “So it’s not correct to say that the SEC and FINRA approved Coinbase’s purchase of Keystone because SEC was not involved in the approval process. Approval was received from FINRA.”
Federal regulators have approved US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase to operate as a broker-dealer, the company announced today. The approval means Coinbase will be able to offer blockchain-based coins that are categorized as securities in addition to letting users trade Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether and Litecoin.
Last month, the San Francisco-based exchange acquired a broker-dealer license (B-D), an alternative trading system license (ATS), and a registered investment advisor (RIA) license through its purchase of Keystone Capital Corp., Venovate Marketplace Inc. and Digital Wealth LLC. All licenses were approved, giving Coinbase tremendous leverage to extend its services and to grow the cryptocurrency market by offering coins like traditional financial assets.
“Ultimately, we can envision a world where we may even work with regulators to tokenize existing types of securities, bringing to this space the benefits of cryptocurrency-based markets — like 24/7 trading, real-time settlement, and chain-of-title,”Coinbase President and Chief Operating Officer Asiff Hirji said in a statement. Coinbase also intends to offer crypto securities trading, margin and over-the-counter (OTC) trading, and new market data products.
Bloomberg reports that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) authorized the Coinbase acquisitions.
Coinbase set off a Twitter storm last week when it hinted at – but did not confirm – the possible listings of five popular cryptocurrencies: Cardano, Basic Attention Token, Stellar, Zcash and 0x.
The company made no guarantees than any of the coins would be listed. But it did notably omit XRP from its list, setting off speculation that the US Securities and Exchange Commission may eventually classify XRP as a security, making it untouchable by cryptocurrency exchanges that do not operate under the SEC. Ripple owns 60% of the total supply of XRP.
Coinbase is now under the oversight of the SEC. It will have to take several steps to comply with the regulations that now govern it, such as qualifying employees with proper licenses and complying with AML/KYC rules and regulations, extensive reporting requirements, financial requirements and requirements concerning the safeguarding and custody of customer funds and securities.