(Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had asked Coinbase to stop trading in all cryptocurrencies except bitcoin before suing the cryptocurrency platform in June, the Financial Times reported on Monday, citing CEO Brian Armstrong.
“We really didn’t have a choice at that point. Delisting every asset other than bitcoin, which by the way is not what the law says, would have essentially meant the end of the crypto industry in the US,” Armstrong told the FT.
“It kind of made it an easy choice … let’s go to court and find out what the court says,” he added.
The SEC had accused Coinbase of operating illegally because it failed to register as an exchange. It also alleged that Coinbase traded at least 13 crypto assets that are securities that should have been registered, including tokens such as Solana, Cardano and Polygon.
The SEC told FT that its enforcement division did not make formal requests for “companies to delist crypto assets”.
“In the course of an investigation, the staff may share its own view as to what conduct may raise questions for the commission under the securities laws,” FT said, citing the SEC.
The regulator sued Binance in June, with both civil cases part of SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s push to assert jurisdiction over the crypto industry.
Gensler has labeled the crypto industry a “Wild West” that has undermined investor trust in the U.S. capital markets. Crypto companies say the SEC rules are unclear, and that the agency is overreaching by trying to regulate them.
The SEC and Coinbase did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the report.
(Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Savio D’Souza)