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Uniswap Labs Urges SEC to Reconsider DeFi Regulation Post-Chevron Decision

Highlights:

  • Uniswap Labs cites the recent Supreme Court decision in Loper Bright v. Raimondo to challenge the SEC’s proposed DeFi regulations.
  • The proposed SEC amendments to the Exchange Act would waste resources and need clear public limits, argues Uniswap.
  • Given the changed legal landscape post-Chevron, Uniswap urges the SEC to reopen public comments on DeFi regulation.

Uniswap Labs, the developer behind the Uniswap decentralized exchange, has renewed its plea for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to abandon its proposal to extend regulatory control over decentralized finance (DeFi). This request comes in light of a recent Supreme Court decision that significantly altered the legal landscape.

Since April 2023, the SEC has sought to broaden the definition of an exchange under the Exchange Act of 1934 to include DeFi participants. Uniswap has consistently opposed this move. In a letter dated July 9, Uniswap reinforced its stance, arguing that the SEC’s proposed amendments are now being made against a legal backdrop that has changed following a recent Supreme Court ruling.

The core of Uniswap’s argument is the Supreme Court’s decision in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, which undermined the Chevron deference. This doctrine allowed courts to defer to federal agencies in interpreting ambiguous laws. This decision, Uniswap asserts, means that courts are no longer obligated to defer to the SEC’s interpretations.

Supreme Court Ruling and Uniswap’s Legal Standpoint

Uniswap’s Chief Legal Officer, Katherine Minarik on X, emphasized the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling, stating that without Chevron’s deference, the SEC’s interpretation lacks a robust legal foundation. 

Uniswap argues that the current laws do not encompass DeFi platforms and that the courts will likely invalidate the SEC’s proposed amendments. The SEC issued a Wells notice to Uniswap in April, indicating potential enforcement action. Consequently, the company is accused of operating as an unregistered securities exchange.

Uniswap has described the SEC’s legal arguments as weak and stated its readiness to contest the matter in court if necessary. The company maintains that its protocol is not an exchange but a passive technology, making the SEC’s allegations unfounded.

Call for Extended Public Comment Period

Uniswap Labs has urged the SEC to reconsider its proposed amendments and reopen the public comment period, allowing for new participation in light of the Supreme Court decision. The original comments were based on the assumption of Chevron deference, which is no longer applicable.

Uniswap contends that adopting the proposed amendments would waste the SEC’s limited resources and lead to inconsistencies and legal ambiguities. The proposed changes have a broad scope with no discernible limits for the public, potentially requiring continuous litigation on a case-by-case basis.

Moreover, Uniswap warns that these amendments could stifle innovation and negatively impact the DeFi industry, which handles trillions of transactions. The company cites previous court rulings, such as SEC v. Coinbase, Inc. and SEC v. Binance Holdings, to support its argument that the SEC’s enforcement-based regulatory approach is flawed and prone to legal challenges.

Despite these challenges, Uniswap remains committed to legal compliance. The company stated that it is prepared to continue its legal battle against the SEC’s actions. It is also ready to take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

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