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SEC was the only regulator unwilling to meet with Coinbase: Brian Armstrong

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong claims that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission is the only government branch that is unwilling to meet with the firm.Speaking on Anthony Pompliano’s Best Business Show on Friday, Armstrong said that during his visit to Washington after Coinbase went public in April, the SEC was the “only regulator” that refused to meet with him:“I was kind of surprised by that because there are so many different regulators out there. Every single one has been willing to meet with us and every other branch of government,” he added.Armstrong highlighted his firm’s issues with the SEC’s approach earlier this month when he revealed the enforcement body had threatened to sue the firm if it launched its USD Coin (USDC) lending program that offered 4% annual yields. Despite other firms already offering similar services, he said the SEC refused to give the green light as it deemed the program to be a security but provided no explanation on how it came to that conclusion. During the interview with Pompliano, the Coinbase CEO noted that the SEC has not changed its tune since then, and he said it hadn’t even placed a phone call to the firm. Armstrong asked:“So, that was one open question. And then the second one was, ‘How are they creating a level playing field?’” he added. Armstrong said Coinbase had considered taking the SEC to court but decided that it was not worth a lengthy legal battle, not least because “there’s a lot of deference given to regulators in the court system.” The firm has now walked back its plans to launch the program and will instead sit on the sidelines until the regulatory landscape around crypto lending services become more transparent: “I think we want to also just focus our efforts on maybe even more important things happening in crypto, like the questions around which of these tokens are securities and how is DeFi [decentralized finance] going to be used?” he added. Related: Bitcoin bounces to $43K ahead of fresh crypto comments from SEC Chair Gensler

Crypto goes to Washington

On the subject of how policymakers view crypto, Armstrong said there’s a 50/50 split in Washington between people who think it’s risky and people who see the opportunity the sector provides:“So, that’s probably half the people I meet in D.C., and the other half, they realize that this is actually a huge opportunity,” he added.Armstrong also appeared at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference on Wednesday and revealed that Coinbase is preparing a draft regulatory framework that it will put forward to U.S. lawmakers next month. The firm is hoping to be an “advisor” that can advocate for “sensible regulation,” with Armstrong noting that regulators have asked the firm multiple times for a crypto proposal.

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