Binance SEC Lawsuit Could be Preview of What Coinbase May Face, Berenberg Says

At least 37% of Coinbase's net revenue could be at risk if that exchange is subject to charges from the SEC, said one analyst.

AccessTimeIconJun 5, 2023 at 9:02 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 6, 2023 at 10:50 a.m. UTC

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) lawsuit against Binance could be a preview of what may be coming down the road for rival crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN), Berenberg analyst Mark Palmer wrote in a note on Monday.

"We observe that several of the details of the lawsuit that the commission filed against Binance echo those it previously filed against crypto exchanges Bittrex and Kraken, and we believe these cases in aggregate represent a preview of the action that is likely to be filed against COIN," said Palmer.

The SEC alleged in its suit that Binance, its CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao and Binance.US offered unregistered securities to the general public in the form of the BNB token and Binance-linked BUSD stablecoin, and that Binance's staking service violated securities law.

The SEC action led to large declines across the board for crypto markets on Monday, including Coinbase, which closed the session down about 9.1% to $58.71.

In March, Coinbase itself received a warning from the SEC that it may soon receive enforcement action tied to its listing of potential unregistered securities. "We estimate that at least 37% of COIN's net revenue would be at risk if the SEC were to target the company's crypto token trading and staking operations," noted Palmer, who continued with a hold rating and $55 price target on the stock.

Coinbase currently has 11 buy ratings, 7 holds and 6 sell ratings, according to FactSet data.

"We believe investors should be focusing on whether COIN would have the ability to successfully pivot its business model and geographic focus if it were forced to curtail or cease a large portion of its business activities in the U.S. as a result of an SEC enforcement action," wrote Palmer.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


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Aoyon Ashraf is managing editor with more than a decade of experience in covering equity markets

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