On November 27, shares of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase soared to an 18-month high, closing at $119.77, the highest since May 5, 2022, when it reached $114.25, according to TradingView data. The surge follows recent legal troubles for rival exchange Binance and its former CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, who pleaded guilty to money laundering and sanctions violations in the United States.
Year-to-date, Coinbase shares have climbed approximately 256.5%, though they remain down by 65% from their all-time high of nearly $343 on November 12, 2021. The recent spike is notably close on the heels of Binance and CZ settling with the U.S. for $4.3 billion. As part of the settlement, CZ stepped down as CEO, and Binance agreed to compliance monitors from the U.S. Justice Department and Treasury Department for up to five years.
Coinbase’s positive momentum is further buoyed by potential approval for U.S. spot Bitcoin and Ether exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart’s analysis reveals that Coinbase is the custodian for 13 of the 19 spot crypto ETFs currently awaiting approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
However, Coinbase is not without its challenges. The exchange faces a lawsuit from the SEC, alleging failure to register with the regulator and listing tokens that violated U.S. securities laws. Coinbase had attempted to dismiss the suit, questioning the SEC’s authority to regulate the crypto industry.
The juxtaposition of legal issues for Binance and Coinbase’s positive trajectory underscores the volatility and regulatory uncertainties inherent in the cryptocurrency space. Coinbase’s resilience amidst legal challenges and its potential role in pending ETF approvals highlight the dynamic nature of the crypto market and the ongoing efforts to navigate regulatory frameworks.