CFTC Chair Clashes With SEC Chair, Says Ethereum Is a Commodity

  • CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam said Ethereum is a commodity.
  • Behman’s statement directly contradicts Gary Gensler’s, who claims only Bitcoin is a commodity.
  • Authorities now have conflicting opinions on whether cryptocurrencies are securities or not.

Rostin Behnam, Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), testified recently before the Senate Agriculture Committee about the regulatory oversight of digital assets. 

During his testimony, Behnam said that Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is a commodity.

Behnam’s statement aligns with the CFTC’s position that cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, are commodities under the Commodity Exchange Act. 

The CFTC has jurisdiction over futures, options, and other derivatives contracts based on commodities, including digital assets. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a different approach, classifying some digital assets as securities.

Behnam’s comments can be interpreted as a pushback against the SEC’s regulatory power creep over the digital asset market. The SEC has recently stepped up its enforcement actions against cryptocurrency projects that it deems to have violated securities laws. 

The CFTC and the SEC have overlapping jurisdiction over some digital assets, and there have been debates about which agency should have the primary regulatory oversight.

By and large, Behnam’s statement that Ethereum is a commodity aligns with the CFTC’s position that cryptocurrencies are commodities under the Commodity Exchange Act. This stance can be seen as a pushback against the SEC’s regulatory power creep over the digital asset market.

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Jesus covers news related to the crypto space in Asia and in Australia, although he follows the latest events in the US and Europe as well. He is most interested in the blockchain gaming and regulation aspects of the industry.