SEC Informs Crypto Exchange Coinbase of Potential Securities Law Violations

SEC Informs Crypto Exchange Coinbase of Potential Securities Law Violations

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sent Coinbase a “Wells notice” about potential violations of securities law. The Nasdaq-listed cryptocurrency exchange noted that, unlike what SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said, the securities regulator “will not let crypto companies ‘come in and register.’” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong explained: “A Wells notice typically precedes an enforcement action.”

Coinbase Receives a ‘Wells Notice’ From SEC

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (Nasdaq: COIN) announced Wednesday that it has received a “Wells notice” from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “regarding an unspecified portion of our listed digital assets, our staking service Coinbase Earn, Coinbase Prime, and Coinbase Wallet after a cursory investigation.”

Coinbase detailed in a blog post:

Today’s Wells notice does not provide a lot of information for us to respond to. The SEC staff told us they have identified potential violations of securities law, but little more.

“We asked the SEC specifically to identify which assets on our platforms they believe may be securities, and they declined to do so,” the exchange revealed.

“A Wells notice typically precedes an enforcement action,” said Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong on Twitter. “Two years ago the SEC reviewed our business in detail and approved Coinbase to go public. Our S1 [filing] clearly explained our asset listing process and included 57 references to staking,” the executive described.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler often urged crypto companies to come in and register with the securities watchdog. However, Coinbase noted Wednesday:

The SEC will not let crypto companies ‘come in and register’ — we tried.

The Nasdaq-listed crypto platform stressed that it does not list securities tokens, or offer any products that are considered securities on its platform. In addition, the company has “repeatedly invited the SEC to raise any questions about any asset at all on our platform,” Coinbase said, adding that the securities regulator “raised none.”

The exchange revealed: “We met with the SEC more than 30 times over nine months, but we were doing all of the talking.”

Noting that “Coinbase has a rigorous process to analyze and review each digital asset before making it available on our exchange — a process that we shared in detail with the SEC as part of our public listing,” the exchange concluded:

The bottom line remains: Coinbase does not list securities or offer products to our customers that are securities.

In February, the SEC took action against crypto exchange Kraken over its staking program. The cryptocurrency exchange paid $30 million to settle with the securities regulator and shut down the program for U.S. users.

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Brian Armstrong, Coinbase, SEC, SEC Brian Armstrong, sec coinbase, SEC Coinbase Earn, SEC Coinbase meeting, SEC Coinbase registration, SEC Coinbase staking, SEC Wells Notice Coinbase, wells notice

What do you think about the SEC sending Coinbase a Wells notice about possible securities law violations? Let us know in the comments section below.

Kevin Helms

A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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D.C. jail guard pleads guilty in drug smuggling, bribery case

D.C. jail guard pleads guilty in drug smuggling, bribery case

WASHINGTON, DC (WRIC) — A D.C. jail guard who oversaw an entire housing unit has pleaded guilty alongside an accomplice who schemed with her to smuggle drugs into the district’s central detention facility.

Beverly Williams, 52, was a D.C. corrections officer and corporal who “was the Officer-in-Charge for shift’s in DOC’s Central Detention Facility,” according to a statement of facts submitted as part of her plea agreement.

Williams conspired with Keywaune McLeod, 28, a D.C. resident, and Andre Gregory, 31, his cousin and an inmate at the facility, to move drugs and other contraband into the jail.

In one call Gregory made from jail in June 2022, he asked Mcleod, “Is it possible somebody could meet you and drop something off at MGM?”

In other conversations later that year, Gregory said to Mcleod, “I told slim mother [referencing Williams] 7:00 o’clock so she going to meet you with that at 6:00.”

Gregory also repeatedly instructed Mcleod, using coded language, on how much to pay Williams for her assistance.

In one typical handoff in August 2022, Williams met Mcleod in front of a local high school, took a package of drugs from him and then drove to her shift at the jail. Although Williams was searched when she entered the jail, she was able to conceal the drugs on her person.

Then, she entered a housing unit under the guise of a security check, slipped into a shower area — where there were no cameras — then emerged a few moments later. Shortly afterwards, Gregory enters and leaves the same area.

Williams was paid $500 for that exchange, which Mcleod and Gregory also discussed on a jail phone line after the handoff was completed.

The scheme eventually unraveled when Williams was caught in September 2022 with two packages containing weed and pills concealed in her uniform.

Gregory is still awaiting a plea hearing in D.C. court.

Unmentioned in the plea agreement, but alleged in an affidavit filed with the initial charges, was an apparent intimate relationship between Gregory and Williams. At one point, in an apparent reference to Williams, Gregory told Mcleod he would “put a ring on that junk” when released.

The affidavit also spoke to a potential monetary motive for Williams, who investigators confirmed was a frequent customer at the MGM casino in Maryland — a frequent site of handovers between her and Mcleod.

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LinkedIn Publishes New Report on Recruitment Trends

LinkedIn Publishes New Report on Recruitment Trends

LinkedIn has published a new report on the latest trends in recruiting, based on a series of interviews with a range of HR professionals, along with LinkedIn user data, which highlights key shifts and changes, as per LinkedIn profiles and job listings.

The full, 29-page global report covers overall recruitment trends, while there are also regional reports which hone in on specific markets for closer analysis.

You can download all the different variations of the report here, but in this post, we’ll take a look at some of the highlights.

The report looks at five key elements of the recruiting process:

  • The role of recruiting
  • The impacts of economic uncertainty
  • Employer branding
  • Skills-first hiring
  • Internal mobility and upskilling

These are the key areas where LinkedIn’s data shows the biggest shifts, with the pandemic, in particular, changing the way many people look at their work, and what they want out of their careers.

Each section provides a series of predictions for that element, and how the recruiting landscape is changing.

LinkedIn Future of Recruiting Report

Which is particularly relevant in regards to flexible work – though that’s still not the key focus for candidates.

LinkedIn Future of Recruiting Report

There are also notes on LinkedIn usage trends, and how recruiters are searching for candidates in the app.

LinkedIn Future of Recruiting Report

There are also overviews of how new technology, like generative AI, will impact recruiting, along with trend notes on learning, upskilling, and how employers and candidates vary in their perspective of each.

Most of this, of course, is very industry-specific, so not overly indicative of LinkedIn usage trends or shifts, but there are some valuable data points as to how people are changing their LinkedIn behaviors in line with the latest tools, features and trends, within their respective industries.

If you’re a HR pro, it’s definitely worth a look, while if you’re looking to get a better understanding of how people are using LinkedIn, there are also some valuable notes to consider.

You can download LinkedIn’s full Future of Recruiting report here.

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Never Don and Never Ron: The rest of the GOP field looks for a third lane

Never Don and Never Ron: The rest of the GOP field looks for a third lane

“Ron DeSantis is copying Donald Trump on Ukraine, entitlement reform, and who knows what’s next?” Haley adviser Nachama Soloveichik said in a statement to POLITICO, describing the former South Carolina governor as “a leader on these serious issues facing our country’s future” who “will continue to note her differences with both Republicans and Democrats who want to bury their heads in the sand.”

“Republicans deserve a choice, not a copycat,” Soloveichik said.

A spokesperson for DeSantis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The result has been a subterranean primary campaign within the primary campaign: a battle for a third-ranking spot in the Republican nominating contest. It is a position that could attract a smaller coalition of traditional conservatives — as the former president and DeSantis fish from the same pond of more populist-minded GOP voters — but one that could provide an outside chance of winning.

Haley this week placed an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal decrying “the weakness from some on the right” concerning Ukraine, while criticizing DeSantis’ “backward” suggestion that the conflict is a “territorial dispute.” In recent days, the former UN Ambassador has taken to Fox News to bash both Trump and DeSantis on the topic. “Trump is wrong in this way,” she told Brian Kilmeade, in what constituted a rare public rebuke of her former boss. She added, for good measure, that “DeSantis is completely wrong on this.”

DeSantis, who in Congress was hawkish on aid to Ukraine, last week announced his public position against continued military support for the country following pressure from Trump and his allies to take a stance on the issue. And despite previously supporting raising the retirement age and privatizing Social Security, DeSantis has more recently joined Trump in saying the programs like it and Medicare shouldn’t be touched.

For his part, Pence has deliberately sought to display contrasts with Trump and DeSantis perhaps more than any other competitor likely to enter the field.

“Mike has always been a limited government, consistent, constitutional conservative,” said Marc Short, Pence’s top adviser. “Voters and donors appreciate that consistency.”

On Tuesday evening at Washington & Lee University in Virginia, Pence sought to distinguish himself from Trump and DeSantis by calling for “common sense and compassionate” entitlement reforms. Echoing the more traditional GOP position, he told reporters he could not “endorse voices in our party today that simply want to walk past the problem of national debt by pledging to never touch Social Security and Medicare.”

The attempt to differentiate themselves from Trump and DeSantis is unlikely to result in an immediate surge of new support for either Haley or Pence, GOP operatives predict. But should Trump’s campaign crumble in the face of multiple indictments, and DeSantis fails to gain traction, it could set them up as fallback options and more traditional Republican leaders.

“You have to hold onto a narrative line that separates you from the populism of Trump,” said Chuck Coughlin, an Arizona-based political strategist. “I think they have to do it. And it’s a healthy thing, a sign that there’s a heartbeat in the Republican Party.”

The distinctions haven’t just been drawn around entitlements and Ukraine. Pence has also expressed disagreement with DeSantis’ revoking of Disney’s special tax status, calling it “beyond the scope of what I as a conservative, a limited government Republican, would be prepared to do.”

On the matter of Trump’s Supreme Court appointments and last summer’s anti-abortion ruling, Pence has taken a victory lap on the issue in ways his former boss hasn’t. When the ruling came down, Pence issued a statement saying “we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land.”

While Pence’s Tuesday night event highlighted his position on entitlement reforms, Haley has also openly called for changing Social Security and Medicare before solvency issues force cuts in the coming years.

She has suggested raising the retirement age for younger generations, cutting benefits for the wealthy, adjusting benefits based on inflation and expanding the Medicare Advantage program, which relies on private insurers. Trump has long balked at touching the programs. DeSantis, meanwhile, has reversed his support as a congressman for restructuring them.

It’s a risky bet for Haley and Pence to frame themselves at odds with Trump’s policies, even as foreign intervention and fiscal responsibility are policy positions that the pair have previously championed.

Republican primary voters now tend to be more skeptical of continued Ukraine aid, according to a new Morning Consult poll that found 46% believe supporting Ukraine is “not a vital U.S. interest.” GOP sentiment on the issue has changed dramatically in the last year. Still, more than one-third of the GOP, 37 percent, say it’s in the United States’ interest to support the country’s defense against Russia.

Paul Shumaker, a Republican pollster in North Carolina, also said staking out different positions from the frontrunners on issues like foreign policy and entitlement reform “is not enough to get you to a winning coalition.” But, he added, it could come in handy if the GOP field dramatically shifts in the coming months and the stakes become higher with the war in Ukraine.

“It could be very smart politics come the end of this year,” Shumaker said. “Just depends on what happens in the spirit of global affairs” — and whether the continued conflict “puts us into a new Cold War mentality” as seen during elections in the 1960s and 1980s.

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Lindsay Lohan, other celebs settle with SEC over crypto case

Lindsay Lohan, other celebs settle with SEC over crypto case

U.S. regulators said the celebrities promoted crypto investments to their millions of social media followers without disclosing they were being paid to do so.

WASHINGTON — Actress Lindsay Lohan, rapper Akon and several other celebrities have agreed to pay tens of thousands of dollars to settle claims they promoted crypto investments to their millions of social media followers without disclosing they were being paid to do so.

Lohan, Akon, recording artists Ne-Yo, and Lil Yachty, boxer and internet personality Jake Paul, and adult film performer Michele Mason all agreed to pay more than $400,000 combined in disgorgement, interest and penalties to settle the claims, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday.

None admitted or denied the SEC’s findings as part of the settlement. Two other celebrities named in the SEC’s complaint, rapper Soulja Boy and pop singer Austin Mahone, did not reach a settlement with the SEC, the agency said.

In response to a request for comment, Lohan’s publicist Leslie Sloane said the actress was contacted in March 2022, was unaware of the disclosure requirement, and agreed to pay a fine to resolve the matter. Lohan, who last week announced she is pregnant, was called to give up the $10,000 she was paid, plus interest, and pay a $30,000 fine, according an SEC complaint.

A spokeswoman for Paul declined to comment. Emails left with representatives for the other celebrities named in the SEC complaint weren’t immediately returned Wednesday.

In the complaint filed by the SEC in federal court in New York, the agency claims the celebrities were paid to promote Tronix (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT), both crypto asset securities that were offered for sale by three companies owned by Justin Sun, a Chinese national. Sun is the permanent representative of Grenada to the World Trade Organization and may be living in Singapore or Hong Kong, according to the complaint.

Starting at around August 2017, Sun allegedly offered to sell billions in the unregistered securities and engaged in manipulative trading, while also creating secondary markets on which Tronix and BitTorrent could be traded, according to the complaint.

“Although the celebrities were paid to promote TRX and BTT, their touts on social media did not disclose that they had been paid or the amounts of their payments,” according to the complaint. “Thus, the public was misled into believing that these celebrities had unbiased interest in TRX and BTT, and were not merely paid spokespersons.”

Many celebrities and athletes have used their influence and massive social media followings to promote cryptocurrencies in recent years, including Matt Damon, Tom Brady and Reese Witherspoon. But doing so without disclosing when they’re being paid to do so is illegal, and has landed some big names in hot water with securities regulators. Last fall, Kim Kardashian agreed to pay a $1 million fine to settle federal charges that she recommended Ethereum Max tokens, a crypto security, to her millions Instagram followers without making clear that she was paid to do so.

In 2020, actor Steven Seagal agreed to pay more than $300,000 as part of a similar settlement with the SEC, which also banned him from promoting investments for three years.

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