CFTC Issues Verdict on BTC, ETH, USDT, Calls Them Commodities

UTC by Mayowa Adebajo · 2 min read
CFTC Issues Verdict on BTC, ETH, USDT, Calls Them Commodities
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CFTC’s new filing may have established that claims of staked coins being securities are incorrect.

Categorizing crypto assets has been a long-time struggle for global regulators including the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). However, a December 13 court filing has now revealed that digital assets should be seen as commodities. According to CFTC, these include Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and Tether (USDT), among others. Per the filing, digital assets include anything that may be “stored and transmitted electronically” and had “associated ownership or use rights.” The filing read in part:

“Certain digital assets are “commodities,” including bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), tether (USDT) and others, as defined under Section 1a(9) of the Act, 7 U.S.C. § 1a(9).”

Meanwhile, the filing indicates a major deviation from the previous position of the CFTC chief, Rostin Behnam, concerning the matter. Recall that on November 30, Behnam opined that BTC is the only cryptocurrency that should be regarded as a commodity. That was during a crypto event at Princeton University. But as it turns out, the new filing suggests that there might be some disagreement within the CFTC in that regard.

There also appears to be a similar dilemma at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). For as long as possible, the chair of the regulatory body, Gary Gensler continues to maintain that only Bitcoin is a commodity. Those times, Gensler suggested that ETH was security. However, he may have started shifting his stance a little, to accommodate ETH and others as commodities. This is especially since the network transitioned to proof-of-stake (PoS).

CFTC vs SEC: Who Regulates What?

With all the debates that surround the classification of crypto assets and their regulation, the duties of regulators, particularly in the US have been spelled out. While the CFTC regulates commodities futures, the SEC is in charge of securities like bonds and stocks.

It might also be worth mentioning that popular anti-crypto Senator Elizabeth Warren is reportedly working on a bill that would give the SEC most of the regulatory power over the crypto industry. But there are also fears in certain quarters that if such happens, the SEC will treat crypto assets as securities. Nonetheless, the regulator continues that argue that that is the best way to ensure consumer protection.

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