U.S. Clampdown On Crypto Innovations: Why ConsenSys Sued SEC?

As I delve deeper into the dynamic world of cryptocurrencies, I cannot help but notice the persistent regulatory hurdles that threaten to impede its growth in various corners of the globe. For instance, India’s government imposes a hefty 30% tax on crypto trading, while China and Qatar have instituted an outright ban on cryptocurrencies. These policies pose significant challenges for businesses looking to establish a foothold in this burgeoning sector.

Crypto traders have levied accusations against the U.S. regulatory bodies, claiming their actions amount to a full-scale conflict against cryptocurrency advancements.

Some people defend law enforcement measures under the guise of protecting consumers, while others believe that governments are unwilling to relinquish authority over financial transactions on a global scale.

A doubtful cryptocurrency outlook within a country can lead to dismal consequences for its ecosystem, as it discourages traders and potential investors, significantly reducing the prospects for widespread crypto acceptance.

let’s delve into the approaches taken by the U.S. administration and regulatory bodies towards crypto enterprises, and discover how crypto proponents are planning to respond through litigation.

US’s Bank Crisis of 2023 and Crypto as Scapegoat

In 2023, the SEC, which is the securities regulatory body in the USA, implemented the most significant crackdown on the cryptocurrency industry. Coincidentally, this occurred during a turbulent period for the American banking sector when several banks suffered catastrophic failures. Among these were Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank – all mid-sized institutions that succumbed to financial instability within a short timeframe. Consequently, global stock prices for banks took a nosedive as a result.

As a financial analyst, I initially entertained doubts about the role of cryptocurrencies in triggering the market turmoil. However, upon closer examination, it became clear that poor risk management practices within the banking sector and underlying macroeconomic issues were primarily responsible for the collapse.

As a researcher studying the financial sector, I’ve come across Mark Williams’ insightful observation. He emphasized that no bank, regardless of its strength, can withstand the loss of depositor confidence.

Nellie Liang, the Undersecretary for Domestic Finance at the US Treasury Department, disagreed with the notion that cryptocurrencies played a significant role in the bank failures that occurred in 2023.

As a researcher examining the causes of recent bank failures in the United States, I’ve found it intriguing that cryptocurrency hasn’t been definitively linked to these incidents. However, regulatory authorities have reportedly attributed the instability in the banking sector to the volatile nature of crypto markets. This assertion has sparked strong opposition from crypto supporters worldwide, who argue that such accusations are unfounded and unfair.

SEC Sued Two Major Crypto Exchanges Within 72 Years

As a crypto investor, I’ve noticed that following the March bank crisis, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took it upon themselves to bring legal proceedings against two major crypto exchanges: Binance and Coinbase.

In the grievance filed by the regulatory body, Binance, BAM Trading Services Inc., and its founder Changpeng Zhao were alleged with 13 offenses. Among these are operating unlicensed exchanges, broker-dealers, and clearing houses; misrepresenting the supervision and safety measures on Binance.US; and illegally selling and trading securities without registration.

The SEC filed a complaint against Coinbase on June 6, 2023, alleging that the company had broken federal securities regulations. Specifically, it claimed that Coinbase was functioning as an unlicensed national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency through its trading platform.

The SEC asserted that Coinbase engaged in unregistered securities offerings via its staking-as-a-service program, according to their statement. Moreover, they accused Coinbase of lacking essential investor protections such as adequate disclosures, conflict-of-interest precautions, and regular SEC inspections.

SEC Declare Ether Security 

During a recent court proceeding, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler made a striking declaration, asserting that “everything other than Bitcoin is considered a security.”


The U.S. government’s declaration on crypto regulations caused a significant stir within the cryptocurrency world, revealing their plans for oversight in the market.

As an analyst, I was taken aback to learn that certain American corporations have disclosed that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has intensified its efforts to categorize Ethereum (ETH) as a security. These businesses have reportedly been served subpoenas to substantiate their assertion.

The newest turn of events may result in yet another delay for Ethereum ETF applicants, including BlackRock, in securing the regulatory nod from the agency.

Gary Gensler has advocated strongly for the regulation of the cryptocurrency sector, holding the view that numerous crypto assets fall under the category of securities as defined by U.S. securities legislation. His efforts have materialized in the form of crackdowns on prominent cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase, accused of offering unregistered securities and conducting activities requiring registration under securities law.

As a researcher studying the regulatory landscape of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), I have observed that taking the position that these assets should adhere to securities regulations has resulted in several enforcement actions against crypto companies and their associated tokens. This stance necessitates that they register and comply with securities rules, which include providing necessary disclosures and implementing investor protection measures.

To put it simply, Gensler’s initiatives seek to enforce securities regulations on the crypto sector, ensuring that relevant entities comply with legal requirements. This approach is intended to foster greater transparency and investor safeguards within the rapidly developing digital asset marketplace.

Tussle Between SEC and ConsenSys

As a crypto investor, I’ve been closely following the ongoing debate between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and ConsenSys, an Ethereum software company, regarding the classification of Ethereum (ETH). The crux of the issue is whether ETH should be considered a security or not. The SEC holds the view that ETH might fall under this category due to certain aspects of its functionality, while ConsenSys argues otherwise. This classification has significant implications for the regulatory framework surrounding cryptocurrencies and their use in various applications.

Based on newly revealed court documents and as outlined in the filing made by ConsenSys, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) holds the view that Ethereum could potentially be an unregistered security, which has reportedly been transacted in violation of federal securities regulations.

According to ConsenSys, this viewpoint contradicts the earlier SEC stance led by former Chairman Jay Clayton, who didn’t categorize Ethereum as a security based on prior guidance.

As a researcher delving into the world of cryptocurrencies, I’ve come across intriguing developments regarding Ethereum’s status as a potential security according to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Based on recent court filings, it appears that the SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and the enforcement division have held this view since 2022. This shift in perspective may be attributed to Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, labeled as “Ethereum 2.0.”

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ethereum’s characteristics could qualify it as an investment contract under the Howey Test – the standard used to identify securities.

Consensys, founded by Ethereum’s co-creator Joe Lubin, has initiated a legal action against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The company contends that the SEC’s effort to label Ethereum as a security represents an “unjustified seizure of authority.”

The company maintains that its past business practices and strategies, regarding Ethereum, were grounded in the previous clear regulatory guidelines which classified Ethereum as a non-security.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched a full-scale investigation into the status of Ethereum, reaching out to ConsenSys and other related parties with subpoenas. These documents demand comprehensive information regarding ConsenSys’ involvement in Ethereum’s shift towards proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, as well as details about its acquisitions, holdings, and transactions involving Ethereum.

In April 2023, the SEC notified ConsenSys that it intended to file a lawsuit against the company for functioning as an unregistered broker-dealer and selling unregistered securities.

The examination of Ethereum’s classification by the SEC has sparked apprehension throughout the crypto sector. This regulatory issue poses a major hurdle for the digital asset market since Ethereum holds the second-largest market capitalization among cryptocurrencies. A definitive regulatory decision on its standing is essential due to its considerable impact and the vast number of investors involved.

As a legal analyst, I would suggest paraphrasing it as follows: I, as a legal analyst, would express it this way: ConsenSys is pursuing a judicial resolution to clarify Ethereum’s regulatory standing, with the hope of gaining definitive guidance from the courts.

Instead of “In comparison to a similar kind of case, in which the SEC took action to declare XRP as a security and failed, the court ruling determined that XRP is not classified as a security.”

Is the U.S. Government Playing a Fair Game?

The unclear image of crypto regulations poses a challenge for crypto businesses, making it unjust to enforce laws carelessly. Previously, we’ve mentioned the SEC’s lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase for selling unregistered securities. Yet, how can one be sued when there isn’t a definitive regulatory structure in place?

Each cryptocurrency comes with its distinct features and applications. Disregarding this diversity by lumping them together indiscriminately can hinder the progress of cryptocurrency innovation.

Absolutely, there’s no shortage of fraudulent activities in the cryptocurrency world. However, it’s important to note that such practices are not unique to this sector. For instance, recall the infamous case of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme in traditional finance.

The SEC appears to be focusing its regulatory efforts on large cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase in an attempt to control excessive crypto trading speculation. However, it’s essential that cryptocurrencies are subjected to fair and impartial legislation similar to other financial assets.

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2024-05-04 14:29