DeFi Protocol UniSwap Receives Enforcement Note Over Securities Law Concerns, Vows to Fight Back

By Ben Knight April 11, 2024 In DeFi, SEC, Uniswap
Uniswap (UNI) editorial. Uniswap (UNI) is a DeFi crypto exchange and a cryptocurrency
  • The SEC has continued its attack on the cryptosphere, this time turning its attention to DeFi leaders UniSwap.
  • The SEC handed in a Wells Notice to the decentralised exchange earlier this morning, suggesting a legal battle is about to take place.
  • UniSwap was quick to assure the community it was ready to fight the allegations.
  • The outcome of this case is almost certain to have a huge impact on the crypto market and how decentralised platforms are regulated going forward.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s regulation-by-enforcement stance isn’t softening anytime soon, with decentralised exchange UniSwap now coming under fire from the US body. It’s been a topsy-turvy 12 months for the industry, with impressive gains and institutional adoption juxtaposed with increasing scrutiny from US regulators. With Coinbase, XRP and Binance all in the crosshairs, UniSwap appears to be next in line to face legal proceedings over the classic “unregistered securities” accusation.

Related: ASIC Files Appeal Against Federal Court’s Finder Wallet Decision

UniSwap is “Ready to Fight”

Earlier this morning, UniSwap was handed a Wells Notice from the SEC, which is a warning that legal action is likely to be taken against the company for regulatory violations. What makes this attack extremely interesting is that Gary Gensler and the crew are going after a decentralised exchange – something that, in theory, should not be possible due to its lack of a central governing body. However, Gensler maintains that DEXs aren’t actually decentralised and therefore are subject to its regulations.

UniSwap did not react lightly to the news, swiftly releasing a simple statement:


…We’re ready to fight. This is the latest political effort to target even the best actors in crypto like Uniswap and Coinbase.


UniSwap’s founder, Hayden Adams, went in even harder on the allegations.

Former SEC Chief of Internet Enforcement, John Reed Stark, was not impressed with UniSwap’s response, suggesting that “such futile attempts to rally the mob pretty much always backfire”. 

However, the broader crypto community’s reaction to the news can be summed up in one word: incensed.

Although Coinbase, Binance and XRP are likely higher-profile cases in the public’s eye, UniSwap vs the SEC might end up being the most impactful case for precedence in the crypto community. If the SEC truly does have jurisdiction over decentralised exchanges, the landscape of the DeFi world is set to be changed forever. 

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Ben Knight

Ben Knight

Ben Knight is a writer and editor from Melbourne with a passion for all things music and finance. He enjoys turning complex topics – especially the technical details of cryptocurrency – into digestible bites that anybody can understand. He acquired his Master’s in Writing, Editing and Publishing from RMIT in 2019 and has run his own creative writing business ever since.

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