Breaking It Down: Senator Lummis Leads Amicus Briefs In Support Of Coinbase Against SEC

Amicus briefs were submitted from a variety of industry participants on Friday in support of Coinbase’s efforts seeking dismissal of a Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) complaint.

The request for dismissal had originally been filed by the company on August 4.

This was an extraordinarily well-coordinated effort, undoubtedly led by Coinbase, and includes the participation of a member of Congress.

Below is a list of the briefs as well as commentary by participants and others.


Senator Cynthia Lummis (R, WY) with the help of law firm Jenner & Block: Download it (PDF)

Commentary: “Sen. Lummis’ brief argues that: 1. Congress has not granted the SEC authority to regulate crypto assets. 2. Defining the contours of crypto regulation in this country is a job for Congress and not the SEC. 3. The SEC’s claim that virtually all crypto assets are securities ‘exceeds the SEC’s authority, encroaches on Congress’s lawmaking, and contravenes the separation of powers.’ And putting a new spin on the ‘regulation-by-enforcement’ term, Senator Lummis declares that ‘the SEC cannot legislate by enforcement.'” – See Tweet on X from James Murphy, securities lawyer, Murphy & McGonigle.

law professors

Six (6) securities law professors:

Stephen M. Bainbridge, UCLA School of Law; Tamar Frankel, Boston University School of Law; Sean J. Griffith, Fordham Law School; Lawrence Hamermesh, Widener University Delaware Law School; Todd Henderson, University of Chicago Law School; and Jonathan Macey, Yale Law School. Download it (PDF).

Commentary: “Some excellent amicus briefs have been filed in the Coinbase case, but IMO, when the 2d Circuit (and maybe Supreme Court?) weighs in, their opinion will track the amicus that was just filed by 6 law professors who are securities law experts…” – See Tweet on X from TuongVy Le, Partner and Head of Regulatory & Policy, Bain Capital Crypto.

industry associations

DeFi Education Fund: Download it (PDF)

Commentary “… we filed an amicus brief in SEC v. Coinbase in which we discuss Coinbase Wallet and Staking Program… (…) The outcome of this case could have substantial downstream implications for software devs and individual crypto users, and our brief specifically focuses on the allegations concerning Coinbase’s ‘Wallet’ and ‘Staking Program.’ – See entire Tweet thread on X from DeFi Education Fund.

Blockchain Association, Consumer Technology Association, Crypto Council & Chamber of Progress: Download it (PDF).

Commentary: “We explain why the major questions doctrine precludes
[SEC]  from enforcing their interpretation of ‘investment contract.’ (…) The SEC takes the position that nearly all digital assets sold on the secondary market are investment contracts under the federal securities laws. But, these transactions involve no ongoing contractual obligations. The SEC’s position is wrong…” – See entire Tweet thread on X from Marisa Tashman Coppel, Senior Counsel, Blockchain Association.

Chamber of Digital Commerce: Download it (PDF).

Commentary: “While Congress works on solutions, the SEC’s aggressive approach stifles innovation. Fair regulations can open opportunities for economic growth, job creation, and financial inclusion. (…) What we argue: We discuss that Congress has NOT granted the authority to the SEC to regulate all digital assets as securities. The SEC’s regulation by enforcement actions raises constitutional concerns, putting the U.S. digital asset industry and its stakeholders at risk….” – See entire Tweet thread on X from Chamber of Digital Commerce.

venture investment firms

Paradigm and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z): Download it (PDF).

Commentary: “Our amicus brief agrees with Coinbase’s fundamental submission: Supreme Court precedent supports the requirement of a CONTRACTUAL obligation to find an “investment CONTRACT.” (…) Since the SEC’s complaint fails to plead any such contract, it should be dismissed’ The brief also makes 3 additional points: First, the test for an investment contract established in Howey, even if understood to extend beyond contractual arrangements, does not justify the SEC’s unprecedented claims against Coinbase…” – See entire Tweet thread on X from Rodrigo Seira, Special Counsel, Paradigm.

Commentary: “We argue that the SEC’s approach is a significant and problematic expansion of its regulatory authority – even threatening purchases of Taylor Swift concert tickets and Teslas. Why? Well… (…) First, the SEC’s regulatory overreach has already jeopardized the development of blockchain technology in the US. While the SEC claims every token is part of an investment contract, they’ve stretched the definition beyond meaning…” – See entire Tweet thread on X from Miles Jennings, General Counsel, Andreessen Horowitz.