Feb 22, 2023
Coinbase Staking Services “Fundamentally Different” from Kraken’s
Coinbase’s staking services are significantly different to those offered by its peer exchange Kraken, according to Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s chief legal officer. Grewal made the comments on February 21 during a Q&A session on the exchange’s fourth-quarter results.
Grewal highlighted the key differences between the two services. Firstly, Coinbase users retain ownership of their cryptocurrencies at all times. In its user agreement, Coinbase states that it merely facilitates the staking of assets on behalf of its customers, and may not replace any Ether (ETH) lost to slashing.
The second difference is customers have a “right to the return”, with Coinbase unable to “simply just decide not to pay any returns at all”. Grewal suggested that the exchange’s registration as a publicly-traded company was another critical point of difference, which enables customers to have “deep transparent insight into our financials”.
In comparison, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s complaint against Kraken alleged its users lost control of their tokens by offering them to Kraken’s staking program, and investors were offered “outsized returns untethered to any economic realities” with Kraken also able to pay “no returns at all”.
Grewal called for regulatory clarity on staking services in the U.S., noting that the public shouldn’t have to parse complaints in federal court in order to understand what a regulator expects.
Coinbase is currently under investigation by the SEC which could result in a similar settlement as Kraken. Coinbase CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong has indicated the company would be willing to challenge the regulator and take the matter to court.
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