Coinbase continues to fight for access to Gensler’s private emails


United States crypto exchange Coinbase has continued to seek access to Gary Gensler’s personal communications, arguing they’re an “appropriate source of discovery” in its ongoing battle with the financial regulator.

Coinbase first requested Gensler produce personal communications in April, arguing it was relevant to its case. This includes any documents concerning crypto beginning from 2017.

The Securities and Exchange Commission sought to block Coinbase’s request in a June 28 letter to District Court Judge Katherine Failla, saying it “rejected this position and proposal.”

Coinbase has now challenged this in a letter filed on July 3, arguing Gensler’s personal communications regarding the regulatory status of digital assets and crypto exchanges during his role as SEC chair is at “the heart of Coinbase’s fair notice defense.”

Coinbase lawyers claim Gensler’s personal communications are crucial for their case. Source: CourtListener

“Mr. Gensler has purported to share his views and communicate with market participants at times expressly in his personal capacity,” wrote Coinbase, adding that this was “all the more reason” to probe his private messages.

“The SEC does not, and cannot, argue that during his tenure as Chair Mr. Gensler never communicated about these matters with market participants by personal email […] Instead, they simply refuse to ask.”

Additionally, the lawyers said Gensler’s communications, both during his time as SEC Chair and before his tenure were of equal importance, as it would help them better understand his thinking on regulatory matters over time.

Related: Coinbase sues SEC, FDIC over FOIA non-compliance

In a July 3 post on X, Coinbase’s legal chief added their efforts for “reasonable discovery” were made in response to a legal battle the SEC started in the first place.

“We have responded to [the SEC’s] effort to block reasonable discovery from Mr. Gensler in a case that it—not Coinbase—chose to file,” wrote Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal.

Source: Paul Grewal

The SEC sued Coinbase in June 2023, accusing the crypto exchange of violating federal securities laws by listing 13 tokens it says are securities and that Coinbase has operated as an “unregistered securities broker” since 2019, nearly two years before its initial public offering in April 2021.

Coinbase argues the tokens listed on its exchange shouldn’t be considered securities, claiming they fall outside of SEC regulations.

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