The crypto market’s penchant for volatility extends to the ancillary service providers playing in the space. Less than two weeks after Coinbase announced a partnership of sorts with the SEC, they’ve walked back the news that seemed to light a spark in the 2018 bear market.
The cryptocurrency firm had told Bloomberg News that it received approval from the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to buy Keystone Capital Corp., Venovate Marketplace Inc. and Digital Wealth LLC. The acquisitions are part of Coinbase’s plan to operate as a broker dealer and at some point list digital coins that are deemed securities.
“It is not correct to say that the SEC and FINRA approved Coinbase’s purchase of Keystone because SEC was not involved in the approval process,” Coinbase spokeswoman Rachael Horwitz said in an email Tuesday. An SEC spokeswoman also said that the agency did not give San Francisco-based Coinbase explicit approval for the deal. A spokesman for FINRA declined to comment.
“The SEC’s approval is not required for the change of control application,” Horwitz said. “Coinbase has discussed aspects of its proposed operations, including the acquisition of the Keystone Entity, on an informal basis with several members of SEC staff.”
BTC price is holding steady in the face of the Coinbase, SEC two step. It’s logical that BTC and other cryptos were due for a bounce after a sluggish Q2. (link to Bloomberg story).
When a Judge on the DC Circuit Appellate Court declares a rule “one of the most consequential … ever issued” in a dissent, they have strong feelings on the topic. This is how Supreme Court nominee and sitting Judge Brett Kavanaugh began his dissent in United States Telecom Ass’n v. FCC No. 15-1063 (May, 2017). The litigation came to Kavanaugh’s desk after legal maneuvering in the lower courts. (link to full opinion).
A net neutrality synopsis requires much more verbiage than a simple blog post allows. The full text of the FCC’s guidelines can be found here. In (brief) summary: The FCC passed a new set of guidelines in 2015 aimed at keeping the Internet, “fair, open and fast” for everyone. Under the rules, internet service providers were required to treat all online content the same. They couldn't deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites or apps, nor could they put their own content at an advantage over rivals. (link to story).
Kavanaugh’s dissent – now a moot point thanks to subsequent roll back of the protection – argued Congress had not given that broad of rulemaking authority to the FCC. Additionally, ISPs had First Amendment rights to regulate speech on their respective platforms. Your personal viewpoint on whether Kavanaugh’s opinion meets or misses the mark likely depends on your political prejudices, and it is not the hope of this post to convert devotees to one side of the aisle or the other.
But the message to Congress should be clear. If Judge Kavanaugh eventually ascends to the highest Court, Congress should not spare any turn of phrase to ensure the FCC (and all other administrative agencies) have its full-throated support in enacting net neutrality regulations.