Court Confirms Bitcoin and Ethereum as Commodities

Court Confirms Bitcoin and Ethereum as Commodities

EconomyBitcoin

By Jakub Lazurek

11 Jul 2024 (9 days ago)

3 min read

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Bitcoin and Ethereum are now officially classified as commodities, says CFTC Chair, highlighting regulatory victories and ongoing challenges in the crypto market.

In a major win for cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) have been officially recognized as commodities. This announcement came during the Digital Commodities Senate AG hearing.

During the hearing, Fox journalist Eleanor Terret reported that Rostin Behnam, Chairman of the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), confirmed that an Illinois court validated BTC and ETH as digital commodities under the Commodity Exchange Act. This aligns with the CFTC’s stance and contrasts with SEC Chairman Gary Gensler’s earlier statements, which suggested that only Bitcoin was a commodity and that most other tokens should be regulated as securities. This has led to enforcement actions against companies like Binance, Coinbase, Ripple, and Uniswap Labs.

Senator Sherrod Brown asked what the CFTC has learned from past crypto frauds. Behnam acknowledged that Bitcoin and digital assets need different approaches to cybersecurity and resilience compared to traditional assets. Senator Cory Booker raised concerns about market abuse and emphasized the role of the SEC and CFTC in addressing these issues. Nearly half of the CFTC’s enforcement cases involve crypto, which Behnam admitted poses a challenge due to the lack of dedicated funding and jurisdiction. Booker stressed the need for swift regulatory action to prevent further exploitation and financial losses in the crypto market.

Senator Roger Marshall discussed the conflict between the SEC and CFTC over digital asset regulation. Marshall suggested the CFTC should handle all digital asset regulation, which Behnam supported, citing the CFTC’s expertise. This shift would streamline crypto regulation and support Behnam’s pro-crypto stance. At the Milken Institute’s Global Conference in May, Behnam highlighted the need for regulatory frameworks and transparency in the growing crypto industry. He predicted more enforcement actions as retail interest in digital assets rises without clear guidelines.

Senator Tommy Tuberville raised concerns about the IRS taxing BTC miners regardless of profitability. Behnam admitted his limited knowledge on the issue, leading Tuberville to call for a quick resolution to avoid deterring people from entering the crypto market.

Behnam pointed out that while the SEC and CFTC coordinate on enforcement, they lack regulatory coordination, making it hard to create a cohesive regulatory framework for crypto. Better collaboration between the agencies is needed to effectively regulate the market.

Recognizing Bitcoin and Ethereum as commodities marks a significant regulatory achievement. The CFTC’s position aligns with this recognition, but challenges remain, including jurisdictional disputes between the SEC and CFTC. The hearing highlighted the need for clear regulations, streamlined oversight, and better coordination between regulators to tackle the unique challenges of the crypto market. As the industry evolves, effective regulatory measures will be crucial for market integrity and investor protection.

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