Coinbase Shares Slump After SEC Files Suit Against Company

Major shareholders include Vanguard Group, Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest, Nikko Asset Management, Fidelity and BlackRock.

AccessTimeIconJun 6, 2023 at 2:22 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 6, 2023 at 6:31 p.m. UTC

Coinbase (COIN) stock took a hit Tuesday after the company was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on allegations of violating federal securities law.

The shares slid as much as 20% at the open before retracing some of the loss to trade 15% lower at $47.10 as of 10:07 a.m. in New York (14:07 UTC), according to TradingView prices. Major shareholders of Coinbase include The Vanguard Group, Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest, Nikko Asset Management, Fidelity and BlackRock.

In March, Ark Invest added an additional 301,437 shares of Coinbase to its ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK). The funds held a total of about 11 million shares as of Monday, according to data on the ARK Invest website.

The SEC said Coinbase was operating as an unregistered broker, exchange and clearing agency simultaneously, accusing it of soliciting customers, handling orders, allowing for bids and acting as an intermediary all at once.

“The legal fight will be long and costly for Coinbase, but it might be difficult to argue and prove that they didn't commingle and unlawfully offer exchange, broker-dealer, and clearinghouse functions,” Edward Moya, a senior markets analyst at Oanda, said.

The suit comes a day after the SEC sued Binance, the biggest crypto exchange globally, for similar reasons. Coinbase shares lost 9% on Monday. Brokerage platform Robinhood Markets (HOOD) also fell, losing 3%; the company reported first-quarter cryptocurrency trading revenue of $38 million.

Both Binance and Coinbase had received warnings earlier this year in from of a Wells Notice. Coinbase responded to the notice in April, refuting the SEC’s allegations.

CORRECTION (June 6, 14:26 UTC): Corrects spelling of Cathie Wood's first name throughout.

UPDATE (June 6, 14:37 UTC): Adds Robinhood shares in penultimate paragraph.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Helene Braun

Helene is a New York-based reporter covering Wall Street, the rise of the spot bitcoin ETFs and crypto exchanges. She is also the co-host of CoinDesk's Markets Daily show. Helene is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program and has appeared on CBS News, YahooFinance and Nasdaq TradeTalks. She holds BTC and ETH.