Coinbase can now offer crypto futures to US customers

17 Aug 2023

Image: © 24K-Production/

Despite ongoing regulatory turbulence, Nasdaq-listed Coinbase says the latest approval is a ‘critical milestone’ in its US cryptocurrency trading operations.

Nearly two years after applying for approval, Coinbase can now offer crypto futures to US retail customers even as it fights a legal battle for allegedly breaking US trading rules.

Coinbase first filed an application with the National Futures Association (NFA) in the US to operate what is known as a futures commission merchant and offer eligible US customers access to crypto futures from its platforms.

In a statement yesterday (16 August), the US-based exchange confirmed that it has secured approval from the NFA to finally do so. “Approval for US customers to access regulated crypto derivatives will allow more people to access the crypto economy in the US in a safe way,” it said.

The approval essentially means that Coinbase is now allowed to offer bitcoin and ether futures directly to US customers and not just institutional clients. Coinbase shares were up by about 4pc in the aftermath of the announcement.

“This is a critical milestone that reaffirms our commitment to operate a regulated and compliant business and be the most trusted and secure crypto-native platform for our customers,” the Nasdaq-listed company said.

The move comes as a breath of fresh air for Coinbase, which has been fighting a legal battle with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in recent months.

In early June, the SEC sued the crypto exchange platform for allegedly operating as an “unregistered national securities exchange, broker and clearing agency”.

According to the complaint filed in a New York court, Coinbase allegedly made “billions of dollars unlawfully” by facilitating the trading of crypto asset securities since at least 2019.

The legal action came a day after the SEC also sued Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, and its CEO Changpeng Zhao for allegedly letting high-value US customers continue trading on despite public claims that US customers were restricted.

Coinbase secured regulatory approval to operate as a virtual asset service provider in Ireland last December. This came weeks after the crypto exchange announced Cormac Dinan as its country leader for Ireland.

Earlier this year, it updated its subscription service – called Coinbase One – and expanded access to Ireland, eyeing a European expansion.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic