Crypto exchange Coinbase plans to end all margin trading effective Nov. 25, 2020, due to recent regulations by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The San Francisco-based trading platform announced Tuesday that it would prevent customers from placing new margin trades beginning at 2 p.m. PT (22:00 UTC) on Wednesday, while simultaneously canceling any open limit orders.
Coinbase will end the margin trading feature entirely next month, once existing positions expire. When customers trade on margin, they’re effectively borrowing funds from the exchange or broker to cover the cost of an investment in an asset such as a security or a cryptocurrency. This allows traders to leverage their positions, meaning profits in multiples of what they would have otherwise received.
The exchange pointed to “recent guidance” from the CFTC, referring to the Commission’s March guidance around “actual delivery” of digital assets as the reason for this decision, but didn’t specify which aspect of the guidance led to the move.
That guidance, which has its roots in a 2016 enforcement action against Bitfinex, sought to provide rules around when a customer can be said to have legally taken control of a cryptocurrency, including when the customer acquires the crypto through a margin or leveraged product.
Assets purchased through leverage or a margin contract cannot be liquidated, according to the guidance.