Bitcoin is little changed after SEC sues Coinbase for acting as an unregistered broker

The Bitcoin logo is displayed on the screen of a Bitcoin ATM on November 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images

Cryptocurrency prices were little changed Tuesday after the Securities and Exchange Commission sued crypto services provider Coinbase.

Bitcoin hovered around $25,608.17, according to Coin Metrics. Earlier, it briefly fell as low as $25,368.57, its lowest level since March. Ether ticked higher by less than 1%, to $1,809.86.

On Tuesday, the SEC filed a lawsuit in New York federal court alleging that Coinbase has been acting as an unregistered broker and exchange. The agency demanded that the company be “permanently restrained and enjoined” from continuing to do so.

“If there’s a real value in these crypto tokens then compliance will build trust and the business model might change,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” Tuesday. “What we’re doing at the SEC is pro-innovation because the capital markets really don’t work.”

The complaint listed 13 crypto assets listed on Coinbase that could be considered “crypto asset securities” by the regulator, including popular coins Solana (SOL) and Polygon’s MATIC token, which fell more than 3% and 5%, respectively, on Tuesday. Cardano’s ADA token fell 2.8%.

The news came one day after the SEC alleged that Binance, the largest crypto exchange in the world by volume, and its co-founder, Changpeng Zhao, violated securities laws. Cryptocurrency prices fell Monday to their lowest levels since March following the complaint against Binance.