‘US has left a vacuum that other countries are eager to fill’: Coinbase

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With Coin­base seem­ing­ly on the verge of a court bat­tle with the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion (SEC), the firm has empha­sized that the U.S. government’s hawk­ish approach to cryp­to reg­u­la­tion has “left a vac­u­um that oth­er coun­tries are eager to fill.’

The SEC issued Coin­base a wells notice on March 22 out­lin­ing that SEC staff had rec­om­mend­ed the agency take enforce­ment action over “pos­si­ble vio­la­tions of secu­ri­ties laws” con­cern­ing some of the firm’s asset list­ings, stak­ing ser­vices and Coin­base Wallet. 

In a March 23 blog post titled Europe is win­ning. Will the US catch up? Daniel Seifert, Coinbase’s Vice Pres­i­dent and Region­al Man­ag­ing Direc­tor in Europe, stressed that the U.S.’s “reg­u­la­to­ry approach to cryp­to has been marked by reg­u­la­tion by enforce­ment,” despite indus­try-wide calls for “com­pre­hen­sive cryp­to regulation.” 

“This approach has cre­at­ed an envi­ron­ment of uncer­tain­ty and insta­bil­i­ty in the cryp­to indus­try,” he wrote. 

As such, Seifert argued that the U.S. is los­ing its sta­tus as the lead­ing hub of the cryp­to sec­tor, while France, the U.K. and the Euro­pean Union, are now build­ing “vibrant” ecosys­tems due to their friend­lier approach to cryp­to regulation. 

“The US has left a vac­u­um that oth­er coun­tries are eager to fill,” he wrote, adding: “we are proud­ly an Amer­i­can com­pa­ny. It’s hard to sit by and watch the US squan­der the oppor­tu­ni­ty it has been given.” 

In par­tic­u­lar, Seifert high­light­ed the sig­nif­i­cance of the Blockchain Week event being host­ed at the Lou­vre in Paris this month. He also point­ed to the U.K.’s recent push to become a cryp­to hub, and the Euro­pean Union’s Mar­kets in Cryp­to-Assets (MiCA) reg­u­la­tion that is slat­ed to come into effect in 2024. 

“This year it’s being held in a pri­vate space at the Lou­vre, arguably the great­est nation­al trea­sure in France and one of the world’s most respect­ed muse­ums,” he said, adding: 

“To me this is a clear sig­nal: France is rapid­ly rec­og­niz­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty that cryp­to presents and is offer­ing it space to flour­ish. The broad­er EU, the UK, UAE, Hong Kong, Sin­ga­pore, Aus­tralia, and Japan are all fol­low­ing suit.” 

The MiCA leg­is­la­tion has been in devel­op­ment for two years, and aims to estab­lish a “har­mo­nized set of rules for cryp­to-assets and relat­ed activ­i­ties and services.”

Relat­ed: Cathie Wood’s ARK load­ing up on Coin­base shares again, buy­ing $18M

It is gen­er­al­ly expect­ed to be a pos­i­tive move for the Euro­pean cryp­tocur­ren­cy ecosys­tem, as it will offer clear rules and guide­lines for the sector. 

“Already we are see­ing that Europe now match­es the US in its share of cryp­to devel­op­ers ( 29% apiece glob­al­ly). The US used to lead the charge with 40%,” he said, adding that: 

“This lev­el of growth does not hap­pen by chance. Con­cert­ed efforts have to be made, such as devel­op­ing a reg­u­la­to­ry frame­work that will pro­vide clar­i­ty and sta­bil­i­ty for busi­ness­es oper­at­ing in the space.”

In a lengthy March 23 Twit­ter thread, the Cryp­to Coun­cil for Inno­va­tion also high­light­ed sim­i­lar points to Seifert, not­ing that “cryp­to is glob­al, and nobody is wait­ing around for the US to land the plane.”

The thread explored pos­i­tive devel­op­ments across the globe, includ­ing exam­ples such as the Nation­al Aus­tralia Bank’s work with non-USD pegged sta­ble­coins, Hong Kong’s efforts to become a dig­i­tal asset hub, and the Cana­di­an Secu­ri­ties Admin­is­tra­tion recent­ly impos­ing “enhanced investor pro­tec­tion com­mit­ments” on domes­tic cryp­to exchanges.

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