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Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong Warns of Crypto Industry’s Last Resort: US Supreme Court

Last Updated September 28, 2023 8:42 AM
James Morales
Last Updated September 28, 2023 8:42 AM
Key Takeaways
  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong was in Washington to advocate for the US crypto sector.
  • He called on lawmakers to get behind bipartisan efforts to pass crypto legislation.
  • However, failing that, he said the Supreme Court would ultimately decide on issues.

To date, court judgments have given the American crypto sector more clear-cut rules to follow than any legislative efforts. 

Weighing in on the matter, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has said that if Congress can’t pass new legislation, key questions will eventually need to be settled in the Supreme Court.

Armstrong’s Push for Regulatory Clarity

In recent weeks, Armstrong has been increasingly vocal in his efforts to overcome the current impasse faced by US crypto firms.

During a crypto conference last Thursday, September 21, the Coinbase CEO pledged $1M to a Super PAC that will support pro-crypto candidates.

Spearheading a new crypto advocacy alliance founded by Coinbase, on Wednesday, Armstrong and other industry leaders who have joined Stand With Crypto  descended on Washington to lobby lawmakers.

While there, he gave an interview  in which he decried the current state of affairs, whereby crypto firms are battling a “hostile” Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the absence of a clear rulebook.

“There’s a couple of Bills going through the house right now that have bipartisan support,” Armstrong said.

“I think there’s a general consensus and understanding from both sides of the aisle that this is an important issue. We can’t keep having Americans be harmed and having this move offshore,” he added.

However, despite the growing consensus, Armstrong said lawmakers remained divided on a few issues, for example, whether there should be a state pathway for stablecoin registrations or only a federal one.

Yet, ultimately, he said that “as an industry, we’re flexible.” 

“There’s a reasonable set of places where these rules could land. I’m okay with any of them,” he added.

Without Legislation, Courts will Decide on Rules

Although Armstrong remained optimistic that bipartisan efforts such as the Lumis-Gillibrand Bill  would ultimately succeed, he cautioned that “if something doesn’t go through this is going to be decided by the courts.”


Alluding to recent legal victories for crypto firms that have taken on the SEC, he said that “the courts are repudiating,” the agency’s approach to regulating the sector.

Considering the direction court rulings have taken so far, Armstrong observed that “if it ends up in the Supreme Court, that’s not going to be good for what many lawmakers want.”

“The clear path here is that it should go through the House and then the Senate,” he emphasized.

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