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CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam Confirms Bitcoin and Ether Are Commodities

Photo: WSJ

There has been confusion about the role of cryptocurrency regulations since the market’s sell-off last week. Still, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission or CFTC’s chairman Rostin Behnam has cleared the air saying Bitcoin and Ether are commodities. Behnam and his agency have been working closely with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to regulate the crypto sector as customers are struggling with protection within the crypto market.

The chairman sat in an interview with CNBC last week to discuss the regulation of cryptocurrencies by the CTFC and the SEC, commenting on a bill in Congress that puts the latter in charge of security tokens while CFTC will be handling commodity tokens. Behnam noted that some coins would be securities within the crypto space while others are commodities.

“This is a little bit of an age-old issue between the CFTC and the SEC. We have a great relationship historically,” explained Behnam. “Within this space, in my view, it makes sense for commodities to be regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and securities to be regulated by the SEC.”

The chairman was asked to comment on SEC chairman Gary Gensler’s claim that most crypto tokens are securities. Behnam emphasized that the largest cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are commodities, saying, “Well, I can say for sure Bitcoin is a commodity,” he also added. “Ether as well.”

Despite confirming the commodities, Behnam admitted that there might be a lot of securities coins. However, he clarified by saying, “I think it makes sense that each agency has jurisdiction over commodities and securities, respectively.”

The CFTC chairman was asked if there had been any disagreements between his agency and the SEC, something he waved off while emphasizing that each tries to do what’s best. “I wouldn’t say there is disagreement,” he assured people. 

When the crypto market experienced a sell-off last week, Behnam said, “A lot of people got hurt. A lot of value was lost in the market, and there really are no customer protections right now.” Rostin Behnam concluded that despite the contradicting comments, the CFTC and the SEC strive to regulate the crypto sector to protect customers and financial stability.

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