Legal scholars file amicus brief in support of Coinbase

Legal scholars file amicus brief in support of Coinbase


A group of six legal scholars specializing in securities law and related fields submitted an amicus brief in favor of crypto exchange Coinbase in its ongoing legal battle against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

An amicus brief is a document filed in court by a party not directly involved with the related case. It is generally used to add supporting arguments to one side of the lawsuit and emphasizes how the case will have a broader impact beyond the involved parties.

The group of legal scholars filed the amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Aug. 11.

Screenshot of the amicus brief. Source: CourtListener

On the same day, Senator Cynthia Lummis also submitted an amicus brief in support of the crypto exchange.

The scholars behind the filing are Stephen Bainbridge of the University of California, Los Angeles; Tamar Frankel of Boston University School of Law; Sean Griffith of Fordham University School of Law; Lawrence Hamermesh of Widener University, Delaware Law School; Matthew Henderson of the University of Chicago Law School; and Jonathan Macey from Yale Law School.

Related: SEC punts on ARK 21Shares spot Bitcoin ETF, opens proposal to comments

In their filing, the legal scholars contended that federal precedents and the Howey test acknowledge that investment contracts necessitate anticipation of business income, profits or assets. The group has asked the court to adhere to the established legal definition of “investment contract” when interpreting its scope:

“An investor must be promised, by virtue of his or her investment, an ongoing contractual interest in the income, profits, or assets of the enterprise. In this section, we discuss some of these cases.”

The legal scholars clarified that their affiliations with universities or law schools are irrelevant to their involvement with the amicus brief.

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