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The SEC Has Started an All-In Political Battle Over Crypto.


The SEC’s lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase are likely to play out across the U.S.’s legal and political system over several years, says Michael Casey.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase this week have sparked a high-stakes conflict that will pit the three branches of the American government against one another in a power struggle, decide whether the crypto industry will permanently leave the United States, and determine the direction of digital currency.

The SEC’s strong efforts against Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, and Coinbase, the largest in the United States, are a major flex and a demonstration of the agency’s exceptional latitude for discretion. In interviews after the announcements, “we don’t need more digital currency” was stated. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler suggested he truly does want to destroy the crypto industry.

But the SEC’s position is far from assured. For starters, if the SEC’s three-year-old case against Ripple Labs is any indicator, the suits probably won’t be adjudicated or settled for many years. Both Coinbase and Binance have vowed to battle fiercely in court, which will put a significant burden on the Commission’s enforcement team’s limited resources.

The timing of these actions being what it is, the agency is almost willing other bases of power to come after it.

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