Coinbase CEO Criticises US SEC Again, Exchange Considers UAE As Future Global Base

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong came down heavily on the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chief Gary Gensler on Monday. Armstrong said the exchange will not leave the US even when the company is facing regulatory uncertainty in the country. Coinbase has been under immense regulatory scrutiny in the US after a bad year for the entire crypto industry as it witnessed the collapse of FTX and Terra. Billions of dollars were lost due to these failures. The criticism comes as Coinbase is also looking at UAE as a potential global hub.

Earlier this year, the SEC had served a Wells Notice to Coinbase. This is a letter that the regulator sends to an organisation after the conclusion of an SEC investigation. Such notices are also served by the regulator to state that the SEC is considering starting an enforcement action against the firm.

The crux of the regulator’s dispute was that the firm was selling unregistered securities to investors, which is disputed by Coinbase, reported CNBC.

While talking to CNBC’s Dan Murthy in Dubai, Armstrong said, “The SEC is a bit of an outlier here.”

He also said, “There’s kind of a lone crusade, if you will, with Gary Gensler, the chair there, and he has taken a more anti-crypto view for some reason.”

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Armstrong further said he does not think they are not actually trying to regulate the industry but are causing curtailments.

He said, as quoted by CNBC, “I don’t think he’s necessarily trying to regulate the industry as much as maybe curtail it. But he’s created some lawsuits, and I think it’s quite unhelpful for the industry in the US writ large.”

However, he acknowledged it is an opportunity for Coinbase to get that clarity from the courts on the matter as the company feels doing so will really benefit the crypto industry and also the US more broadly.

Last month, Armstrong said that the firm may be forced to shift its headquarters overseas. Although, he took his words back and said, “Coinbase is not going to relocate overseas.”

“We’re always going to have a US presence. But the US is a little bit behind right now,” he said as quoted by CNBC.

However, he considered multiple options where the firm could open offices. Speaking on this, he said, the UK has been incredibly welcoming.

Armstrong said that his firm was planning to increase its global investments. He added that Coinbase is “very interested” in the United Arab Emirates as a country to do more investments in.

This is because Coinbase is looking at UAE as a potential global hub as Dunbai has been a favourable regulator to crypto businesses and organisations involved in it.

On his first visit to the UAE, he said, “I’m here to learn and listen and meet with the relevant regulators both in Abu Dhabi and here in Dubai and decide if this is a good place for us to serve a large region of the world,” as quoted by CNBC.

Conbaise’s executive team and Armstrong are in the United Arab Emirates to part in a series of engagements with policymakers, regulators, partners, web3/crypto founders, and clients.

Armstrong will deliver a keynote address at the inaugural Dubai Fintech Summit, under the patronage of His Royal Highness, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

The UAE is one of the many important centres of web3 innovation. With over 500 startups, it is also funding companies to ensure virtual asset infrastructure development.

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