- Coinbase Chief Legal Officer (CLO) Paul Grewal said on Twitter that he and the exchange are “grateful” for settling with New York regulators over compliance failures.
- Coinbase will pay a $50 million fine. The exchange also agreed to invest $50 million into its compliance program.
- Coinbase started having compliance issues back in 2018. They grew exponentially in 2021 when Coinbase experienced massive growth amid a roaring bull market.
- Grewal said the settlement reflects Coinbase’s “commitment to continuous improvement.”
- COIN reacted to the news by going up more than 13%.
Coinbase (COIN) chief legal officer (CLO) Paul Grewal said on Twitter on Wednesday that he and the exchange are “grateful” for the $100 million settlement with New York regulators over historical compliance failures.
The U.S.-based exchange was fined $50 million after the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) discovered in their investigation that Coinbase allowed users to open accounts without conducting sufficient know-your-customer (KYC) procedures, among other compliance failures.
Coinbase also agreed to invest another $50 million into its compliance program. Grewal said that Coinbase has – and will continue to – develop its compliance program
“While no company wants to be in this situation, this consent order reflects our commitment to continuous improvement, our engagement with key regulators, and our push for greater compliance in the crypto space – including for ourselves. Our teams built our comprehensive compliance program from the ground up. It took some time, but we have sought to set a higher standard for ourselves and the industry every step of the way,” Grewal said.
He added that Coinbase is “grateful” for the resolution and has “never shied away from working with regulators.”
Coinbase’s Continuous Compliance Failures
NYDFS’ statement on the reached settlement with Coinbase revealed some details about the exchange’s failures to ensure robust compliance.
For example, in one instance, Coinbase unknowingly helped a scammer steal $150 million from an unnamed company by pretending to be an employee at that company and opening an account with Coinbase.
NYFDS said that Coinbase’s compliance woes go back to 2018. At one point in 2021, when the exchange experienced massive growth amid the roaring bull market, it had over 100,000 alerts of unreviewed suspicious customer transactions. The backlog of customers requiring enhanced due diligence grew to over 14,000.
The regulator said that Coinbase had neither the personnel nor the tools to deal with the backlogs that grew to “unimaginable” levels. Coinbase eventually improved its compliance program in 2022 but still lacked sufficient checks and balances to prevent money laundering and other suspicious activity.
COIN Pumps on the News
Coinbase’s stock reacted positively to the news of the settlement. COIN is currently trading at around $38, 13% higher than it did yesterday, according to data from TradingView.
However, COIN had a rough 2022. It lost more than 85% of its value last year and almost 90% since the IPO day, which saw COIN reach its all-time high of $357.39.
Silverbank, a crypto-focused bank, also pumped on the news. SI is trading at around $21.50, 25% higher than at the start of the trading day. The stock is still down more than 91% from its all-time high of $239.26, according to TradingView.
On the Flipside
- It’s unclear why the multi-year investigation had been kept a secret.
Why You Should Care
Coinbase is one of the world’s largest and most trusted centralized cryptocurrency exchanges. The fact that they’ve had continuous problems in the compliance department should be considered by all current and potential investors who use Coinbase.
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