Coinbase CEO says leaving the US for UK is ‘on the table’

Brian Armstrong, CEO of popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, has said that relocating the company’s headquarters from the US to the UK is “on the table” due to regulatory challenges in the US. This comes as the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple has sparked concern among crypto firms about how the agency may view certain tokens. Armstrong also suggested that more clarity and streamlined regulation from regulators in the US could encourage Coinbase to stay.

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Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, may relocate its headquarters to the United Kingdom if the regulatory environment in the United States does not improve, according to its CEO Brian Armstrong. This announcement comes amidst a growing sense of discontent among crypto companies with the US authorities, who have intensified their enforcement actions against the industry in recent years. Some observers even suggest that the US is waging a covert war on crypto, with a well-coordinated effort to marginalize the industry and de-bank its players.

The roots of this conflict date back to at least 2020, when US regulators started to show a frosty attitude towards cryptocurrencies and related activities. However, the situation escalated in 2023, with more frequent and severe enforcement actions against companies such as Ripple and Coinbase. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse warned that such actions would only drive technological innovation away from the US and vowed to leave the country entirely if the ongoing lawsuit with the SEC went against his company. Meanwhile, Coinbase revealed that it had received a SEC Wells Notice, which could lead to further enforcement action against some of its key platforms.

All these factors have contributed to a sense of uncertainty and frustration among crypto companies, prompting some of them to explore options outside the US. Coinbase’s Armstrong voiced this option publicly during his speech at FinTech Week in London, where he also met with UK lawmakers and emphasized the potential of the UK as a crypto hub. According to Armstrong, the UK is Coinbase’s second-largest revenue market after the US, but the company is not satisfied with the lack of regulatory clarity in its home country. Therefore, he said, “anything is on the table” when it comes to considering relocation, although he also cautioned that this is not an imminent decision and would only happen if the US regulatory landscape remains challenging for years to come.

The debate over the future of crypto in the US and other parts of the world has far-reaching implications for the industry, as well as for investors, consumers, and regulators. Some argue that crypto needs more regulation to ensure its legitimacy and stability, while others claim that too much regulation could stifle its innovation and growth potential. As the global economy becomes more digitally-driven and interconnected, the fate of crypto may ultimately depend on how different countries and regions balance these competing concerns. For now, however, Coinbase and other crypto companies are watching and waiting for the regulatory winds to shift – or considering a change of scenery.

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