Crypto Week: The SEC Delivers a Double Strike

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is suing the most powerful crypto exchange Binance and Coinbase after a month of threats and warnings. The exchanges are charged with serious offences like “placing investors’ assets at significant risk”, fraud with investors’ funds - which were send to a separate company that is controlled by Binance founder Changpeng CZ Zhao - lying to the regulator, and insufficient efforts to limit the access of U.S. citizens to the exchange.

Coinbase has been accused of operating as an unregistered broker, exchange and clearing agency. “There's a business model that bundles and commingles functions that we don't see, nor would we allow elsewhere, in finance,” SEC Chair, Gary Gensler, said to Bloomberg. Staking also came into the SEC’s focus, as it is suing Coinbase over its staking services. The accusations against Coinbase may seem absurd as the exchange has received multiple licenses to operate in the United States, and was trying to cooperate with the SEC to establish the best practices to put in place to regulate the sector for years. So, if such a transparent company is haunted by the SEC, others will certainly have no protection.

The crypto market capitalisation has deteriorated on the news. BTC prices slid below $26,000 per coin, but mostly recovered the day after. However, the forecast remains negative as prices may go further down to $24,000 per coin, and even lower to $20,000.

Significant capital inflows into U.S. assets were spotted amid hyping AI stories. But, the recovery of the stock market could be attributed to the profit taking of short-sellers. No assets can climb or fall forever. There are no fundamentals behind the recent mini-rally in U.S. stocks, but the is also no alternative to them, as stocks of the Old World and China seem to be rather disappointing as the economies in these countries are dramatically slowing down. The American economy, in contrary, is looking strong. Persistent high inflation is likely to result in higher-for-longer interest rates, meaning that risky assets will remain under pressure. The rebound of the crypto market could be seen only at the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024.