Uniswap says ‘it’s ready to fight’ as SEC ramps up investigation

Uniswap says ‘it’s ready to fight’ as SEC ramps up investigation
The US Securities and Exchange Commission, led by Chair Gary Gensler, has issued Uniswap Labs with a Wells Notice. Credit: Andrés Núñez
  • Uniswap Labs said on Wednesday it had received a Wells Notice from the SEC.
  • Coinbase made a similar announcement before it was sued by the SEC for allegedly offering unregistered securities.

Uniswap Labs, one of the biggest entities in the world of decentralised finance, said it is “ready to fight” Wednesday after receiving notice that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is mulling a lawsuit against the company.

The firm said it had received a Wells Notice, a tool the SEC uses to notify companies it is recommending enforcement action for possible violations of securities regulation.

In March of last year, crypto exchange Coinbase received a Wells Notice. The exchange responded by suing the regulator April. The SEC then charged Coinbase for operating as an unregistered securities exchange in June. The case is still ongoing.

“Taking into account the SEC’s ongoing lawsuits against Coinbase and others as well as their complete unwillingness to provide clarity or a path to registration to those operating lawfully within the US, we can only conclude that this is the latest political effort to target even the best actors building technology on blockchains,” Uniswap said on its blog.

A lawsuit would mark a significant escalation in the SEC’s war against crypto.

Since the collapse of FTX in November 2022, the SEC has sued crypto companies large and small. But its biggest targets have been so-called centralised exchanges, traditional companies that let users purchase and trade crypto.

It has yet to sue a major player in decentralised finance — the software engineers and companies responsible for self-executing financial applications, some of which are completely beyond the control of their developers.

Uniswap is one of the largest decentralised exchanges, with more than $6.1 billion in user deposits, according to data from DefiLlama. Uniswap Labs CEO Hayden Adams founded the Uniswap protocol, and the New York-based company contributes to the development of Uniswap-branded technology.

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“[Uniswap] is the largest use case of Ethereum, using 25% of Ethereum’s blockspace,” the company said. “It has processed $2 trillion in transactions without a hack.”

On X, Adams said he isn’t surprised the SEC has signaled its intent to sue.

“People often ask me why we stay in the US and my answer is simple: I believe that blockchain is incredibly powerful technology,” he wrote.

“Like the internet, it’s here to stay. So someone needs to figure it out, and it might as well be us.”

Aleks Gilbert is DL News’ New York-based DeFi correspondent. You can reach him at aleks@dlnews.com.