Crypto Exchange Coinbase Suspends Algorand Staking Rewards

The move follows Kraken's agreement with the SEC to shut down its staking service in the U.S.

AccessTimeIconMar 22, 2023 at 6:18 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:11 a.m. UTC

Crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN) told its customers on Wednesday that it will no longer offer Algorand token (ALGO) rewards as of March 29. The token will still be available to trade.

A Coinbase spokesperson didn't give a reason for terminating Algorand rewards but said in an email to CoinDesk that “all rewards from the Algorand governance period ending March 31st will be paid in early April.”

“Coinbase works alongside asset issuers to provide rewards and continuously reevaluates our offerings to ensure the best customer experience. We have decided to discontinue Algorand (ALGO) rewards at this time,” the Coinbase spokesperson said.

However, Algorand Foundation's CEO Staci Warden tweeted on Thursday that the move was in light of regulatory scrutiny. "They've [Coinbase] now informed us that they are evaluating their services in light of recent regulatory scrutiny, and, for that reason, they will no longer support Algo rewards for retail customers," she said.

Coinbase disclosed late Thursday, that the SEC alleged the U.S.-based company may be operating in violation of securities laws in the running of its exchange and staking services. The regulator has targeted Coinbase with a so-called "Wells Notice" that informs the business that the agency is planning a future action.

Coinbase has acted as a service provider for Algorand, connecting the user and the protocol and passing on rewards earned from staking. According to the exchange’s website, users can still earn staking rewards from the Ethereum, Cosmos, Tezos, Cardano and Solana blockchains.

The move involving Algorand comes as Coinbase’s staking service faces questions after crypto exchange Kraken in February agreed to pay $30 million in penalties and shut down its U.S. staking-as-a-service operation to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it was selling unregistered securities. At the time, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler warned other platforms to “take note,” hinting at possible further investigations into other U.S.-based crypto exchanges.

ALGO was recently trading at about 22 cents, up 2% in the last 24 hours.

UPDATE (March 22, 2023, 21:40 UTC): Adds comments from Algorand Foundation's CEO and SEC warning for Coinbase.


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Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.

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