The SEC has served notice on Coinbase Global, Inc., a cryptocurrency exchange platform, of its intent to sue the company. Usually, a target keeps quiet when confronting a powerful regulatory agency, but Coinbase has loudly proclaimed that it will fight the SEC both legally and in the public square.

This episode of What’s Ahead explains what’s at stake.

The company has a proposed a program called Coinbase Lend that would pay customers interest for lending their crypto holdings. The technical issue is whether this constitutes a security.

The real issue–and why the SEC is going out for blood here–is whether governments and central banks can control the crypto movement through rules and decrees that severely restrict cryptocurrencies’ uses.

Regulators fear that cryptos can become widespread alternatives to the traditional banking and financial system and, worse, in their minds, provide viable substitutes for government currencies.

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