The SEC and Cryptocurrency Exchange Coinbase Eye Crypto Securities — Blurred Lines

In the USA, crypto tokens exhibiting the characteristics of securities are subject to the SEC oversight.

Coinbase said the move sets in on path to "offer future services that include crypto securities trading, margin and over-the-counter trading".

San Fransico based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase posted on their blog today that they are on track to become a regulated broker-dealer pending approval by USA federal authorities. The popular USA digital asset exchange bought Keystone Capital Corp., Venovate Marketplace and Digital Wealth, allowing Coinbase to pick up a broker-dealer license (B-D), an alternative trading system license (ATS) and a registered investment advisor (RIA) license. "That represents a huge opportunity for a company like Coinbase, particularly as more startups submit to regulatory oversight and, as a result, produce what are called "security" tokens". According to the WSJ, Circle is also now seeking a banking license.

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More than $13 billion has been raised by startups via so-called initial coin offerings since the beginning of past year - a whopping $6.3 billion of that raised in just the first three months of 2018. While it seems that the SEC legally considers almost every ICO token as a security, no official statements or laws have been issued declaring all ICO tokens as securities; many of them describe themselves as utilities. The company announced that if approved it will soon be able to offer blockchain based securities in compliance with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Authority (FINRA) made possible by their acquisition of a broker-dealer license (B-D), alternative trading system license (ATS) and a registered investment adviser (RIA) license.

Coinbase, which has so far raised $225 million from investors, isn't alone in its interest and along with sizable contenders overseas, it's facing growing competition in the U.S. If approved, the deal could alleviate those worries and allow Coinbase to significantly expand the number of coins it lets customers trade. As a broker-dealer, Coinbase will officially be regulated by the SEC as well as FINRA. Until now, it has mostly been regulated by a patchwork of state authorities.

Institutional investors prefer working with firms that are regulated, Adam White, general manager of Coinbase's institutional arm, said in an interview.

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"This is not only a good thing for our company but a good thing for our industry", he said.

While Coinbase is the largest USA cryptocurrency exchange, it now offers only four types of virtual currency, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. That would enable around-the-clock trading all week.

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