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May 17, 2022

CFTC Chair Considers BTC and ETH a Commodity

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chair, Rostin Behnam, declared that Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are commodities. On Monday, he mentioned this in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Behnam said this is an age-old conflict between the two agencies, referring to a Senate measure that wants to give the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) power over a big portion of the crypto market, leaving the CFTC with considerably less influence.

The CFTC and the SEC, according to Behnam, have had a fantastic relationship throughout the years and continue to interact and collaborate. He further mentioned that both companies have a large number of registrants. However, Behnam feels that the CFTC should govern commodities while the SEC should regulate securities.

He also mentioned that the world of digital assets, which includes hundreds of tokens, includes commodities and securities. To that end, the CFTC Chair stated that parsing through both asset categories to establish whether tokens qualify as securities or commodities makes sense.

Behnam recognized that separating securities from commodities in the crypto market will be difficult. According to him, the novelty of certain coins and the technology they employ necessitates a review of what qualifies as a security or commodity under standard securities and commodities rules.

Although Behnam acknowledged that security coins number in the hundreds if not thousands, he maintained that commodity coins make up a significant portion of the crypto market. Both authorities, he noted, are merely attempting to do the best they can.

Behnam agreed with SEC Chair Gary Gensler that the cryptocurrency sector lacks consumer protections. He noted that the incident last week demonstrated the necessity for such safeguards.

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This comes after the Securities and Exchange Commission announced intentions to expand its crypto division in order to improve consumer safeguards. The authorities stated that they wanted to boost the number of employees in their Crypto Assets and Cyber team of the Enforcement Division from 30 to 50.